Uttarayan (Kite Flying Festival) – Vadodara – January 2012

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We left Baroda on the night of Uttarayan, so the boys had a few hours to indulge in some kite fighting before we flew out. I must say, Mangy was pretty good at it!

Kite fighting in Baroda is serious business, first you need to find a Manja (glass coated string) maker you trust. Then after much discussion with family, you choose the colour and length of the string. If you already have a reel, that’s one less decision to make, if you don’t own a reel, you need to choose size and type of reel. Once that’s done, there is at least a 5 hour wait for your Manja to be prepared and for the glue to dry.

So while that’s happening, the kites are chosen and purchased. You can have kites with the knots on, or naked kites (which involves a whole other process to prepare the kites for fighting). The wooden sticks that form the frame of the kites come in various grades, which affect the cost of the kites. Every kite needs to be checked for damage, the slightest tear can ruin the kite. When you’re buying 20 kites at a time, this is a fairly involving process!

So finally on the day of Uttarayan, with our weapons of choice prepped, sun screen lathered on, fingers pre-bandaged (to prevent cuts from the thread), we made the trip up to the terrace, and what a sight it was! Just kites everywhere! Boys hooting every time a kite was cut down. Loud item number songs playing on every speaker, kids all over the place trying to grab kites that have been cut off.

We setup a little food station in the shade and mum in law kept sending up food. No prizes for guessing where I plonked myself 🙂

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