This is not a post about what Makar Sankranti festival is all about. This is about what Makar Sankranti was to me.
I grew up in Nashik so the first thing that reminds me of Makar Sankranti is the kites. We used to start flying kites from December onwards and on this day the sky would be so full of kites that you could hardly make out that it’s blue. We had only one guy in my building and rest all 10-12 girls. I remember I used to be his crony for holding his chakri while he flies the kites. He taught me how to tie a thread to the kite, in a fashion known as ‘Mangalsutra’. I always wondered why we would call it ‘mangalsutra’. Obviously the analogy of the thread being tied to a kite, which was essential for the kite to fly high was attributed to the holy bonds of matrimony.
Kite flying was more competitive that even our exams. We used to get together on our building terrace and there used to be a huge competition on who cuts other’s kites. We used to should till our voices became hoarse and till it becomes so dark that you can’t see the sky at all!
I never learnt how to fly a kite. I was always the ‘chakri’ bearer. Even when a group of college friends started flying kites, all I could get was to hold the kite for either soaring it high above or getting to hold it for 3 minutes when the kite was high in the air. For those 3 minutes, I would be ready to run around to fetch the fallen kites, get more thread, hold the kite tight and leave it in the air so that someone can fly it higher and what not.
As if the entire day spent like vagabounds was not enough, we would take a 180 degree turn in the evening. Evenings were for visiting friends and families, dressed in best clothes and eating as much of til gul as possible. It was also an occasion to eat all sweets in plenty. Inni and my mom would make ladoos and gul poli and all the sweets and I would actually get a scolding for eating too much of sweets by the time it was evening.
While I sit at my desk and write a blog remembering old times I feel fatigued. Somewhere in the race to make a living for myself I am missing out on all these things. This feeling does not come frequently, it’s days like these, when I should technically be outside shouting on top of my voice and flying kites, meeting relatives and eating sweets till I can stuff up no more, that’s the time I realize that I am not going anywhere. I am at my desk. Trying to work, imagining all my friends who are flying kites. Yet, I know, none of my friends are out there. They are all inside, making an honest day’s living, no sweating in the heat, no sore throats, no red eyes and no frolicking around.
We are what we chose to be and I chose to sit in the office and dream about the sky filled with kites outside!