Threads of India: iii) Kiting in Kerala

Bow of our Kettuvallam

I am unaccountably sad about the loss of small kite. The kite, made of two slender twigs, some twine and Indian newspaper, had attached itself to our Kettuvallam (traditional cargo boat) as we puttered down the coconut-lined channels of the Backwaters.

Suddenly it was there skipping merrily in the sky high above us, its elegant newsprint tails all aflutter. Its string had somehow become caught on the boat and having lost the hand of the boy who had made it, had adopted us. We hauled it in accessorising it with a plastic bottle around which we wrapped the length of twine. It was simply and beautifully made and what is more it really flew.

Kite flying, in my experience has always been a disappointing activity. I carry a cold, grey image of my brother and myself running down hills as fast as our legs would carry us in the hope that the English weather would sweep our exotically coloured kites into the sky. When we would turn briefly in our helter skelter progress it would inevitably still be there, bumping along the ground, a mass of mud and twigs.

The Kite above the Backwaters

As a result I had decided to bring this aerodynamic masterpiece, in all its recycled glory, back to Europe. For whatever reason I thought we would watch it flutter gracefully one last time which, had I had more kite flying experience, I would have known to be foolish given that we were surrounded by water. With one fatal twist it took a dive into the waters and despite jumping in to rescue it, it promptly fell apart.

Transcending its fragility and aged newsprint it had borne aloft the enthusiasm shared by boys all over the Asian continent for kite racing, a tenuous thread rising above contentious borders and divides. I was sad to place its dilapidated remains in a waste paper basket and with it, the boy who had so skillfully mastered his craft and is probably even now engaged in arguing certain enhancements with his peers.

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About InkQuillibrium

Writing for life.
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