The festival ‘Sankranthi’ brings a lot of colours and kites to the villages in India. One cannot find a child who is unenthusiastic about flying kites. Just like any other kid, I used to wait for the arrival of the kites at local shops during our winter school break.
The kite flying ritual
But, there is a twist in the way we manoeuvred kites. We neither had fellow kites to defeat nor competitive kite flyers to mock at. This is because of our kite flying ritual defined by our father. He used to take us to our secluded farmland for kite flying. He would then say “The kids in our village aren’t your competition. Look at the sky. That is your competition. You have got enough thread to reach the sky and enough time till dawn. There are no limits. Now, start flying and chase the clouds goddamnit!” Along with my little brother, I used to obey the stringent orders from our father. We used to steer our kites into the sky until they are either invisible or we run out of the thread. Sometimes, the transmission lines across the fields would escape us from the pain of rewinding the whole thread.
As the years went by, we somehow started liking our ritual of kite flying. By the time I was 12, a new international airport got inaugurated at Shamshabad, which is not so far from our place. To satiate our curiosity about aeroplanes, our father took us to the airport during the inaugural week. I still remember our family’s vintage bajaj chetak ride to the airport. Soon enough, we replaced clouds with flights as our kite flying motivation. As days passed by, I started staring into the sky whenever I heard a deafening noise. And eventually, my fantasy of flying to another country not to mention the fantasy of watching the kites from 30,000 feet above the ground took shape…
Ten years later
No one in the world can articulate the joy of a 23-year-old recording his first flight journey to the United States overlooking his village farmlands.