Tue, 13 Apr, 2021

Changa Chait!! Fly High with the Kites of Your Dreams

By Asmita Subedi

Yahoo!!! The kites and the clear sky!! It’s just the perfect combination!! :D Kite flying is what we all say, see and hear during these days. It’s already September and Dashain is on the threshold; autumn has arrived, the weather is so favorable and the sky is too clear. What can be better than the view of colorful kites all over the clear blue sky? Like people of other countries in the world, we Nepalese also have our own significance of flying kites; it has been more of a tradition for us to fly kites and shout Changa Chait in this wonderful season of Dashain filled with fun, enjoyment and traditional beliefs. It is believed that flying kites means sending messages to Indra – the God of rain, reminding him not to shower the country with rain anymore and requesting him to bring prosperity to the ones who fly kites. There is also a belief that flying kites is a way to contact and honor the ancestors of the living, and a way to guide recently deceased souls towards heaven. Nowadays, especially the young, fly kites for enjoyment and fun rather than keeping into consideration the traditional beliefs. We Nepalese fly kites in a unique way; it can also be regarded as kite-fight i.e. the ones flying kites fight with each other using kites as their weapons and try to cut one another’s string holding the kite. It is a battle among the anonymous in which the number of battlers is unrestricted. It is like a spitfire shooting through the clouds to plummet the enemy fighter planes. The mighty kite tries to conquer the entire sky by defeating other kites; it descends down towards the other competing kites and tries to get them off its way, off its sky! As the strings of the competing kites get interlocked, the crowd watches with a hold of their breath, guessing which of the kites will plummet. And in seconds, the string of the inferior breaks out and it falls down, getting bruised and battered. The crowd then bursts into applause. Oh! What a wonderful sight that is. The kite that fights bravely in the fierce battle and sustains as the last remaining kite in the sky wins the game. The kites are made of colorful papers, particularly in diamond shape with an attractive tail attached to its end. It is then connected with miles and miles of long string that is rolled onto the wooden reel with two spools on either side which is to be held in between our hands to manipulate the kite as it heads to the sky. Once the kite soars in the sky, the real kite-fight begins. Each owner of the kite has his/her own magic formula to make his/her string holding the kite stronger and fight with the other kite owners; most of them fortify their strings with homemade manja, a mixture of crushed glass and thick adhesive. The manja acts like a sandpaper when the strings of the kites are interlocked with each other and helps to wear out the opponent’s string. The objective of every person flying the kite is to cut loose the other kites and stay flying longer. Everyone, the little kids, young ones and even the old ones, are seen to be flying their kites. Considering the significance of the special occasion of kite flying, several Changa Chait events are held nationwide by different clubs, media houses, hotels and more. To promote the kite flying tradition as well as to add heartiness in it, kite flying competitions are held time and again. The most fascinating scenes are those of the little kids who try hard to fly their kites in the sky with their small little hands. Once they are cut down, the way they fix their bruised kites and fly them again with the hope of challenging and winning is the most inspiring one. Along with having fun and entertainment, we can also learn a life lesson from flying kites. How a kite can be a symbol of inspiration and a hope to restore lost glory is indeed worth mentioning. Writing all this, reminds me of my days at home with my brother. I remember how we used to fight for flying the kites, how we used to cut down (chait) other kites in the sky and become happy like we had conquered the entire world. I miss my brother and those days. :/ I am longing to go home soon and breathe new life into my boring days by flying kites! No matter how old you are, be a child and enjoy the wonderful kite flying. Have fun and fly high with your kites. It’s not all about winning, so glide with your kites in the diversity of beauty and nature. Cheers!!! Stay Safe and Happy Kite Flying To All!! :D :D