Uttrayan or Makar Sankranti arrives on January 13. As the sky is coloured red, yellow, blue and pink, euphoric shouts and cries of defeat rent the air. Here’s how to get initiated into the art of kite flying.
Bare essentials: Fine quality white cotton string and glass coated kite strings (manjha) and a string holder (chakri) to wind the kite line around. The first step is to make a bridle that is attached to the kite at both ends, and gives it more maneuverability. There are four forces that affect a kite’s flight — gravity, lift, thrust and drag. So someone needs to hold the kite and give it a thrust lifting it upwards, while the flier tugs at the line.
Kite flying may be a dying hobby in this city of sky scrapers but there are many who keep the sport alive. Come Uttrayan and the Shivaji Park, Bandra Reclamation promenade, bylanes of Ghatkopar, Vile Parle, Bandra and Sion are freckled with kites. Impromptu kiteflying contests are on. Bandra’s Mamadwadi near Lucky Hotel is a hub of kitemakers. Here you can get a range of kites — from the simple diamond-shaped ones to eagles and dragonflies. Begin with the single-layered ones and graduate to the multi-layered kites.
What seems like a fairly innocent hobby is also the cause for innumerable accidents this time of the year. Here are some precautions to be followed:
Wear gloves while flying kites to avoid friction burns.
Stay away from power lines.
Avoid crowded places where people could get in the way.
Terraces and open grounds are perfect provided there are no loose railings.
Avoid loose gravel and slippery wet grass.