Thursday, 18 April, 2024

Oh, for old days of flying kites, swaying on swings!


By Arpana Adhikari

Kathmandu, Oct. 6: “The sky was bright blue. A strong wind is pushing all the clouds making it a perfect day for kite flying. The sky was speckled with colourful kites and I was on the rooftop flying a kite and yelling Changa chaitt, after cutting my neighbor’s kite. What a beautiful dream I had,” said Sandeep Nepal.
Sandeep had this dream just a week ago before he landed in his native Kathmandu on Monday. “I was thrilled with the feeling of going back to my root and reviving my childhood nostalgia, especially the kite flying and swinging in a Linge ping (swing made of bamboo).”
But after coming here from USA, he realised that Dashain celebration is not as it used to be.
He saw neither a kite flying nor a swing swaying in Kathmandu, said Sandeep. “It was so disappointing.”
Recalling his past memories, Ashesh Adhikari, 35 of Chandol said Dashain used to be synonymous to kite flying and swinging, especially for the kids.
From the beginning of the Dashain, people around the valley were seen on their rooftops to fly kites and children lined up, waiting for their turn to swing in linge ping, said Ashesh.
Ashesh shared how he and his sister spent hours to make homemade manja, a thick adhesive made from glass powder, starch and Sabudana (tapico sago) to make the kite thread sharp and strong, so that during the kite fighting it could cut the threads of the competitors.
“Because of the kite flying, Dashain used to be so much fun for me and my sister. The excitement of cutting other’s kite yelling ‘Changa Chait’ and chasing the falling kites without caring about anything, was very delightful.”
Sampada Shrestha, a local of Ason also shared a similar disappointment over the declining trend of kite flying.
“These days children are so busy with the gadgets and internet that they have already lost interest in this age-old ritual,” she added.
There are more kites seen on the walls of shopping malls and showrooms, as decors rather than in the skies of the valley.
Jiri Govinda Shrestha, a kite seller of Asan said his family has been in the kite making and selling business for over three generations and he has realised that there is a sharp decline in kite selling in recent years.
Shyam Sundar Shakya, a 71-year old man of Baluwatar, said it is believed that kite flying brings prosperity to the family. “It sends a message to Indra, the god of rains, to stop the rain as the rice fields do not need more water.”
People also believe that they should play a swing and leave the soil at least once in this season, said Shakya.“In addition, the government has also reduced the Dashain holidays, as a result, people do not have time for passing skill of kite flying to the young generation,” he added.