The skies over the Shanghumughom beach on Saturday saw a ‘lost sport’ being tugged back to life as a face of a Theyyam artiste glared, a shark glided ferociously, and a hawk made of fabric flew with an uncanny resemblance to the real thing, silhouetted against a dull grey backdrop.
The threatening grey of the sky only aided the International Kite Festival to take off in style, marking the celebration of the Travancore Carnival.
Among the traditional kites, soared impressive specimens that showed off the craftsmanship of the team from the Kite Life Foundation, based in Kochi. Close to a lakh small kites were being distributed to visitors and the others, with their elaborate tails stretching to 30 feet. Despite the wind that occasionally strayed on to the beach, splashes of reds, blues, and yellows managed to stay afloat and drew crowds of beach-goers to the carnival, jointly organised by the International Centre for Intellectual Training and Empowerment and the State Department of Information and Public Relations.
Through the modes of art, culture, and a general air of festivity, the six-day long event seeks to draw attention to issues, including cancer awareness, women’s safety, and environment conservation. Alongside these more grave issues is this lighter campaign, reminiscing the elation of making something fly. Rajesh Nair, founder of the Kite Life Foundation, had bags packed with 15 large kites, including two from a Theyyam collection.
“This took over two months to create and even now, there are bits and pieces we need to add to improve it,” said Mr. Rajesh.
On Saturday, the rain allowed a half-hour of display, until it damped the kites back to the ground. As Mr. Rajesh fussed with the fibre-glass and bamboo rods and the sturdy material that stitched together a kite, he said all they had to do was wash them before flying them again on Sunday.
A kite-making workshop has been scheduled for Sunday morning for children and a whole day of flying promised by the organisers.