Kite-flying in Ahmedabad

Uttarayan literally means north movement (Uttar = North and Ayana = Movement). Basically, it is the day that the sun starts moving north (of course, the ancients got it wrong by a few weeks) after the winter solstice.

Yesterday was Uttarayan in Ahmedabad. As a kid, it was my favorite holiday. We would wake up early in the morning and drive to the old city and would be the first ones at the crack of dawn to fly kites. The whole idea was to have kite-wars with our neighbors and cut their kites. Kite-flying is an art. It takes skills not just to fly a kite but to control it in the wind and fly it up and down and sideways. Once you are able to successfully cut someone’s kite it is time to taunt them verbally. Only if you are in Ahmedabad on January 14 would you be able to experience it. The entire sky is covered with kites; thousands of them in all colors, shapes and sizes.

Kite-flying goes on all day and late into the night when everyone flies tukkels (candle-lit paper lanterns that attach to the string on which the kite is flying). The next day, we compare notes to see how many tukkels we were able to fly on our kites. It is not unusual to have a dozen of them on a single kite. I miss flying kites in India. I miss the cuts on your hands and sometimes on your neck. I miss eating sweets and socializing with friends and family on the terraces of India. I miss taunted and I even miss being taunted. I was never very good at kite-flying, but I still miss the festival!

The Ahmedabad marathon is in the first week of January. Maybe next year, I will go there to run the marathon and celebrate Uttarayan in my hometown!

Anyway, I ran today for an hour. I started slow but picked it up. Somehow, my shoelace came loose after a mile-and-a-half; I had to stop for a few seconds to retie it. I’ll have to make sure this doesn’t happen on Sunday at the P. F. Chang’s 1/2 marathon!

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