Twenty minutes into spooling his first kite, Alistair D’Souza had already seven others as trophies that lay severed at sea.
D’Souza (16), a resident of Khar, was clearly the uncrowned master of the kite flying ceremony at the Reclamation Promenade, part of the Celebrate Bandra Festival, held in partnership with Hindustan Times.
Parents and grandparents enjoying the day off for Eid had shown up with their tots, while children from neighbouring hutments simply followed the vibrant display of colours in the sky towards the venue.
“It is one of the great traditions of the festival. I loved flying kites as a child but it hasn’t flourished beyond the ’70s and ’80s. Kids brought up in urban areas have little exposure to it, which is why I insist mine come along. It’s great fun and fosters community spirit,” said festival director Neale Murray, deftly manoeuvring his own.
An hour into this display of dexterity, the immense stock of free kites (about 500) and maanja began to wear thin. Experts included four- and six-year-olds as in the case of Bandra resident, Sandhya Gorthi’s sons. “Our driver has been teaching them kite flying for a year now. For them to have this opportunity to participate with kids from so many backgrounds is fantastic. It’s not yuppie or materialistic, it’s just clean fun,” said Gorthi.
The kite flying was a bonus for Ehsaan Guddus (16) after his Eid feast. Dressed in their finest, Guddus and his friends practised for an upcoming kite flying event in their neighbourhood.
Gayatri Absak, a kite flying novice, persisted practising with four kites, each of which were cut by the professionals. “We were just chilling in Bandra and my friend mentioned this activity and we came here. I’m not very good at it but I could get addicted to it,” said Absak (22), a law student.