Life & Style

Kite runners of Coimbatore

A 3D kite

A 3D kite   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The old and young, the professional and the novice alike flew kites with enthusiasm at the recent Kite Festival in the city

I could see a lonely kite slowly making its way up the sky as I reached the ground at Sundapalayam, where a kite festival, organised by Diamond City, was underway. IChairs were getting full and stalls that served cotton candy, kulfi, tea and snacks were doing brisk business. People had come to watch some professional kite flying.

A big, blue dolphin and an orange octopus flew up in the air. The long tails of the octopus moved in the wind. On the other end of the string were professionals manipulating the kites. A blue 3D delta kite landed on the ground but went up again as we watched in awe.

Train kite

Train kite   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Kids took selfies with the train kite that was a number of colourful kites attached in a series to a string. A ring kite, which looked like a parachute, was tied to a car. “Humans cannot handle that kite. We have to tie it to something strong. It has got the strength to uproot a tree in strong wind”, explained Gopal Rao, a kite-flying professional from Mysuru. He remembered how he used to make kites using paper and bamboo in his childhood. “Now we use durable and lightweight materials like rip-stop nylon and carbon fibre.”

Stunt Kite

Stunt Kite   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

A stunt kite moved in lightning speed with the sound of a racing car, forming patterns with its long tail. It spiralled, zig-zagged and flew in straight lines. I later learnt from Niranjan Rao, a third-generation kite flyer, that the sound came from the vibrating membrane of the kite.

After the show by the professionals, it was the turn of the public. Every one who had come there was given a kite. I got one too. Little Nishika followed the red kite flown by her brother so that she could “catch it before it touches the ground, if in case he lose control” . M Rajan goes back to his childhood. “I feel like a child. I came with my grandchild, and now it is me flying a kite”, he said, without taking his eyes off his kite. Professionals walked around, guiding and giving tips. Aishwarya who wanted to fly a professional kite was given an opportunity, though her untrained hands could not quite manage it. Niranjan Rao said, “Fitness is one of the key factors, especially to handle professional kites. We need to be strong enough to handle the weight of the kite in the wind.” He also added that kite flying is stress-relieving and gives happiness.

My kite was yellow with green tails. “You should pull the string when the head is pointing upwards and let loose when it is not,” Niranjan Rao instructed me. My kite soared high. Occasional sighs of disappointment were heard when the kites crashed to the ground, or broke from the string. I learnt tails give stability to kites and, if the wind is strong, there should be more tails. I flew the kite till the string broke and I saw my kite falling down in a distance. “I think that marks the death of your kite,” laughed Niranjan Rao.

Points to remember

Don’t fly the kite on a terrace. Do it only in an open ground

Don’t fly a kite near power lines

Don’t use manja strings (coated with powdered glass), as it can kill birds and wound humans if it comes in their way

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 5:37:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/at-a-kite-festival-in-coimbatore/article19575676.ece

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