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Flying HIGH

BHUMIKA K.
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CHATLINE V.K. Rao’s obsession with kites started in his childhood. Today, he teaches youngsters to fly them and organises kite festivals to keep his spirits soaring, finds BHUMIKA K.

As it soars, darts, dives and dips, a colourful kite in the sky buffeting the wind with a colourful tail fluttering behind it, has always construed symbolic images for everyone. For the person flying it, it’s an ethereal connection between sky and land, lending a sense of soaring freedom, of unbridled joy. To many, it’s the coming of spring, of rain, of festivals, a coming of age of sorts.

For many, it’s a memory of childhood. As a child, V. Krishnaji Rao made his own paper kites to fly every year at the Ashada Ekadashi festival in Mysore, also popular as “Galipata Habba”. “You just made you own kites those days. Buying one was out of question! It was part of our family culture,” he says of the beginning. But what started as a childhood obsession has lasted all of the 53 years of his life now. Along the way, he’s tried out every possibility with these messengers of the wind — flying miniatures that are just three centimetres wide to flying a long trail of 3,000 kites on a single string, and organising kite festivals to promote the hobby.

V.K. Rao, as he’s known popularly in the kite-flying circuit, is a regular at international kite festivals hosted in India. He started participating in kite festivals when the first state-level festival was held in Karnataka in 1988. In 1989, he started the Kite Clinic Club in Bangalore, which teaches youngsters how to make and fly kites.

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