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Indian-Americans fly kite imported from Bareilly

The kites numbering 150 were specially flown in from Bareilly, and so was the manjha, reports Lalit K Jha.
PTI | By Lalit K Jha, New York
UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2005 11:48 AM IST

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) from Uttar Pradesh orgnised a unique kite festival in a New Jersey park Sunday, an event worth remembering not only for the participants for years to come, but also for curious American onlookers.

The kites numbering about 150 were specially flown in by the organizers – Uttar Pradesh Association of the Mid Atlantic Area – from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and so did manjha or special thread rolled into spools.

"It reminded all of us, our days back home. It was a great event as even non-members joined us," Atul Rastogi, president of the association, told HindustanTimes.com.

The successful event took months of preparation by the organizers who after deciding to organize the festival went on a frantic search for the venue. "We were rejected by at least 20 different park authorities, before we were allowed by the Holmdel Park in New Jersey," said Rastogi.

Denial to the association's request by these townships was based on the argument that flying a kite in such a large number would disturb the wildlife and also create hurdles for the birds in the area, he said.

A diamond merchant, Rastogi said the association decided to organize the kite festival with the objective of having fun at the picnic but also to popularise Bareilly kites. Last year, this township in Uttar Pradesh exported more than 40,000 kites. "Promoting kite, became our motto this time," he said.

The Bareilly kites numbering about 150 of various shapes and sizes were specially made by kite makers in this U.P. township. In stead of the kites made of traditional paper, the kites were made of all weather proof material. "It was made of special type of plastic," he said.

While the cost of the kite was Rs. 30 each, its special packaging and transportation came out to be much expensive: more than Rs. 100 per kite, he said, adding that special courier companies had to be hired for the purpose.

"Despite all the precaution, we ended in damaging about a couple of kites," he said. But the experience of flying kites in their childhood, helped members to fix them.

"It has been a great experience for all of us. A large number of onlooker came to us and expressed their interest in knowning more about the art of flying a kite," he said.

Such was the enthusiasm among the participants, including 40 below the age of 15 years, that many of them flew kite more than the height permitted by the park staff and added severel spools into one so much so that at times these flew more than 200 feet.

One of the condition of the park authorities was that a kite cannot fly more than 500 feet heigh and as such the organizers had purposefully kept the length of the manjha in a spool to 500 feet.

Encouraged by the overwhelming response, the association, Rastogi said has decided to make it an annual event. "Next year we plan to organize the Kite Festival at a much bigger place and a more prominent location," he said.

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