Let me begin by wishing you all a very Happy Makar Sankranti. This festival of harvest is celebrated predominantly as Makar Sankranti in the Western regions of India and also as Lohri, Pongal, Uttarayan etc in the others. It is celebrated by distributing Til Gud (Sesame & Jaggery) sweets and flying kites early in the morning.
Talking about kite-flying, our Hindu ancestors found a fun way of basking in the morning sun. The morning sun being beneficial for the skin and body, warding off the infections & sickness during winters, kite flying was just a way to reap these benefits. And this tradition continues till date. Even though we live in dense concrete jungles, on this day the skies are full of kites in various sizes, shapes and colour.
So this year, I decided to go and capture the magic of kites before the festivities kicked in. I spent a whole morning walking the streets of Imambara/Dongri in Mumbai, meeting Kite makers and gathering these pictures and details.
These guys have it all in their shops. Kites, Charkhi(spools) & Manjha (Kite string) in all varieties, shapes and sizes. The well organised items stacked to be sold make their spaces very interesting and unconventionally appealing. Here’s a glimpse…
The kite designs were unique and interesting. There were Conventional geometric paper kites, Nylon ones with cartoon characters/movie star prints, Chinese Animal print kites, Special Occasion print kites and many unusual ones to choose from. However the most sold kites were those with a picture of Mr. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi Ji. I was lucky enough to get a click of the last one lying in the shop. Wow… Way to go Mr. Modi.
The Dongri Kite Centre even had a wall of fame displaying a collection of old kites, preserved by the owners.
It is interesting to note that these kite makers have been around for more than 60 years in this business. Their domestic kite sales start every August and end in January post this festival. The remaining year is spent working on import orders. Each shop boasts of some unique kite designs, different quality of manjha and of course their own customised spools. This market offers kites ranging from Rs 2 per piece to Rs 500 per piece.
I am happy I undertook this very fine adventure into an unknown area of my city. What an experience it has been. I ended up buying a few kites for my little one too. This is going to be his first Kite experience and I hope to make it a memorable one. Enjoy your day!
Cheers & Joy, Always!