For Sunil Waghela (19), most of the excitement of flying a kite on Makar Sankranti is to get a girl to hold the reel while he shows off his skills.
“This year I didn’t have a girlfriend so I didn’t feel like flying, I just came to watch,” said the Nagpada resident on Thursday as he followed the flight of kites criss-crossing the sky over Girgaum Chowpatty.
For many like Waghela, who turned up in hordes at Chowpatty beach, Juhu Chowpatty and the gymkhanas along Marine Drive on Thursday, the picnic aspect was just as important.
Jyoti Sahul (28), a housewife stretched her legs out in a shady corner on the sands and settled down for the long haul. “We’re all going to be here for some hours today,” she said, “Even those people who normally don’t have the time to fly kites will make time on this day.”
Many who turned out for a spot of high-flying action said they didn’t usually fly kites during the rest of the year, despite professing an ardent love of the game.
Dilip Kapadia, president of the Golden Kite Club, one of the city's oldest kite clubs, pointed out possible reasons – the shortage of time, the cost of maintaining such a hobby and the problem of open spaces. “Flying kites from your home means there are nowadays obstructions like multi-storey buildings,” said Kapadia, who is currently in Ahmedabad for the International Kite Flying festival.
With tattered multi-coloured carcasses of kites accumulating on Chowpatty beach as the evening wore on, a few flyers complained of police interference and confiscation of kites. But by and large they were clearly in the throes of a good time.
“There’s nothing like the thrill of cutting other people’s kites,” said Ayub Khan (49), echoing general sentiments. “If I cut Rs 15 worth of another person’s kites, I’ll count that as a good day.”