People fly kites during Makar Sankranti

Cloth kites are being preferred of late

CUTTACK: Kite-flying is a passion here. It defies age and status. People of every age enjoy the romance of kite-flying for which the enthusiasts organise a kite-flying tournament in the city year-after-year.

Especially in the days of winter -- particularly in the months of December and January -- kite-flying reaches its peak. Be it the aged or the young, enthusiasts throng the open grounds and roof tops of their locality to get that joyous feeling. But on the day of Makar Sankranti, it turns out to be a ritual for everybody to fly kites.

The essentials for this pleasant sport including kites, starched strings and a roller called ‘Natei’ in local parlance are available in various shapes and make in the city. Kites made up of paper, polythene and cloth are sold in every bazaar of the city but the markets of Choudhury Bazar, Chandni Chowk, and Buxi bazaar are famous for these.

“Now-a-days kites made up of cloth are in demand and the cost of these kites range from Rs 50 Rs 250,” said a trader Prakash Patra who prepares kites for nearly three months of a year. Patra feels kites made up of paper are however, the best. Polythene or cloth kites cannot give the same pleasure as that of paper kites.

Similarly, strings well-starched are also in demand as the pleasure of kite-flying is multiplied when the opponent’s string is broken by your strongly starched thread. “You feel like a king when your kite flutters in the sky cutting others to size,” says an enthusiast.

Shops selling essentials for kite-flying make a substantial business during this period as business crosses crores of rupees during the season.

Apart from the pleasure it provides, kite-flying also turns out to be a dangerous sport. Falling from roof tops and slitting of necks and other body parts by the deadly string are the two major accidents invariably associated with this sport. Last year a lawyer died near Baranga area of the district when his neck was slit by a loosely hanging kite thread from a tree.

Seeing the interest among people in the city in kite flying, people of Ganesh Ghat, a locality on the banks of River Kathajodi mooted the idea to have a tournament way back in 1992. The tournament was named after Late Hare Krushna Das of Sahibzada bazaar who was a famous kite flyer of the city. The tournament is open for two categories --one for children and the other for seniors.