It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a kite! Come August, and the Captial’s skyline is dotted with colourful kites, cutting through the clouds and competing with the monsoon winds. On one such breezy day, we went to Delhi’s biggest wholesale kite market — Lal Kuan Bazaar to witness the lanes lined up with shops selling kites — some frilly, some plain and some with messages of patriotism.
The owner of shop No. 41, Mohammed Altaf, said, “Kids as young as five visit us. Kites with impressions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face and the national flag are in demand.”
At shop No. 1042, a 10-year-old young boy, who came with his family from Rohini, was excited to buy kites in bulk. “I like Doraemon and Salman Khan. Main 500 patang loonga, alag alag design ki (I will buy 500 kites, of different designs). I can cut four kites with just one kite” said Krrish. Posing with his treasured buy, his eyes twinkled with excitement.
The variety and the cheaper rates have made people from all across Delhi flock to this market to buy kites. Gurgaon resident Yatin, who always goes to Bishan Chand and Sons to buy kites, said, “Kite-flying is my hobby. Now, I’ve come to stock up for Teej. Later, I will come again to buy for Independence Day.”
The traders, however, are worried about the dwindling nature of the business. Annu Qureshi of AB Kite Shop said, “By this time, our business should have been 100%, but it’s gone down to 30%. Kids have mobiles and television now. They don’t come out and play.”
Just as we were about to wrap up work, we spotted three kids outside shop number 1862 checking out kites. Saeed and Salman were 12 years old, while Rafi was just 10. Saeed said, “Jab se hum chhote the, tab se patang udhaate hain (We have been flying kites since we were toddlers).” With the future of kite-flying in young hands, we hope that we don’t have to witness a kite-less Independence Day.
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