The kite fighters...

Its been ages since I last posted on my blog. There are blogwebs (yeah, I can be funny.. or er.. atleast try to be) hanging around my blog. So I decided to clean up in here.

Short Story

kapli kapli kapli*.. The kids of the zhopadpatti ran..

In Mumbai, Kites light up the blue sky a week before Sankranti(the festival of kites).... You will get to see all kinds of kites, big, small, the ones with one tail, the ones without tails (the tail is said to stabilize the kite). Among all these kites, was the king of kites. The big red kite with looong tail. It was twice as big as normal mortal kites that we kids had. That big red kite belonged to Tarun.

It was Tarun, who had cut my newest orange kite, after which the slum kids were now running..
*means "Its been cut" in marathi

Tarun lived in a building next to mine. Tarun's kite personified Tarun. Tarun was twice as big as "normal" kids. I was in the 6th grade then and he was in the 8th, but he touched a staggering 6 feet. He had moved in from Aurangabad 3 years ago in the building next to ours.

My friends, Tanay and Sujit both in the fourth grade, two years younger to me, gave me the dope on Tarun.
Tanay told me, "Arre, Aurangabad mein sab log Undertaker jitna tall hota hai"
To this Sujit said, "kya paka raha hai bey, Undertaker world ka tallest aadmi hai"
Clearly Sujit was a Undertaker fan..
Rajesh dada, who was Sujit's elder brother later told me that Tarun had failed 8th grade 3 times, in Aurangabad. Tarun should have been in the 11th grade with him.

Tarun was a bully. And he sucked at football. But always wanted to be the centre forward. While playing he would push the defenders of the opposite team. Once he hit Tanay who was the goalkeeper of my team. I pushed Tarun back, he kicked me on the shin with his studs...I punched him in the gut.. What followed was a round of punching and kicking, mostly him punching and kicking me. We decided to keep him out of all games after that.

The orange kite was the 5th kite that Tarun had cut that Sankranti week. I kept trying to cut his kite, but that seemed next to impossible.. There was a legend that Tarun's red kite could not be cut. He had the same kite since the last 3 sankrantis. Thats 3 years! Tanay and Sujit had some gyan to share on this one too..

"He has 10 more kites of the same colour at home. He cant be using the same kite since 3 years now, can he?", Tanay said
"Arre hes good, I am telling you na.. They teach kite-flying in schools in Aurangabad", Sujit said.
"Nahi re, its the manja* that he uses. Something fishy about it ", Tanay added
"He applies coal tar on it, I have heard", said Sujit.
* kite string

I believed every word they said. Infact they even tried to come up with plans to take the red kite down. Ofcourse, their plans mostly involved spaceships and aliens coming to our rescue..

Meanwhile Tarun kept on taking down my kites. I couldnt stay up for more than 5 minutes. He would close in to my kite and cut it down.

That Diwali, I visited my native. I was there for 10 days or so. Everytime I visit the native, there is Babya to keep me company. Now Babya is atleast 10 years elder to me, but then as it happens in villages, innocence stays with you for a long time. So when I was 13, he must have been 23,but we were great friends. I asked him if he knew how to fly kites.
"Arre champion hoto me" I was a champion he said in his adulterated gavti marathi..
"Will you teach me?"
"Kashala? Manja ne hath kapli na"Why? Manja will cut your hand.

I persisted and he like all good friends was ready to help.

For the next 10 days he taught me all the tricks that there were to learn, my favourite being the 'Dip-n-lift'. In this trick, you have to let go of the manja, let the kite dip and then all of a sudden with all your might pull the manja so that the kite rises up and cuts the string of your competitors kite.. But its a dangerous trick because if not done correctly, you might lose control and consequently your kite. But more importantly, this trick almost always cuts your finger. When I left my native that november night, I gifted him a spool of manja and two kites.

That Sankranti I climbed up the terrace with my two tailed half pink and half yellow kite.. I saw Tarun standing on the terrace of the neighbouring building flying his red kite with the long tail... I checked the direction of the wind as Babya had shown me and then started to fly the kite.. Barely five minutes later I had Tarun's red kite closing in. I tried to escape him.. I wanted to practice the dip-n-lift a couple of times before actually trying it out on Tarun. I tugged the manja towards the left, the kite rushed towards the right away from the red kite. Tarun followed the kite. Again I tugged at the string, my kite drifted towards right.. Again Tarun's kite followed me.

He got on the top of me, ready to cut my new kite... suddenly I let go.. I gave the dheel.. The kite started dipping.. Tarun seemed confused. That was enough for me.. I pulled the manja with all the strength my right hand could gather.. My pink-yellow kite soared into the sky, tearing the air apart, like a rocket does.... and then- snap! I heard it.. I swear I did!

Know when you prick a balloon? It happened to me. I could see Tanay on the terrace of the building far north dancing like there where ants in his pants.. Sujit was with him, he was doing the cartwheel.. I looked down at my feet.. There were two drops of blood.. and then the third one.. my index finger was cut and was bleeding..

I looked at Tarun standing on the adjacent terrace. He looked like he was gonna cry.. I looked at the manja in his hand.. It was slack! Then for the first time, I looked towards the sky... There was my kite!! I did it..!! I cut Tarun's kite..

kapli kapli kapli.. The kids of the zhopadpatti ran..

P.S. - Inspired from Khalied Hosseini's The kite runner... The kite fighters...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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23 letters to the editor:

    You read Kite runner?! Its a nice book.. so is your story :) actually tried to write in his style..the style of the genius. Have done a good job with the narration. Oh! can't wait for his third book!!

    On February 18, 2009 at 11:11 PM     
    Sree said...

    That was a real good story...real I hope, and good for sure! :D
    Who was that confused Ahmed in your story? Just a looker-by dost kya?

    Waise thanks for blogrolling gave a high just like I would have felt had my name been listed on TOI! Chalo TPI hi sahi! ;)

    Wow....tht was lovely:-))!!!!!!!

    Never knew that "Kite Runner" actually a book on how to fly kites. I Myself dont know how to fly that will surely buy it soon to learn kite flying.

    Jokes apart but it surely feels great after you have taken your revenge. As its said
    "Only two things gets better with age ..
    Wine and Revenge!" and it rhymes too :P

    On February 19, 2009 at 12:32 AM     
    Nupur said...

    Nice one... but this had no girl-boy love story!!! Thats your area man!

    On February 19, 2009 at 2:46 AM     
    Chriz said...

    you write like rkn.... malgudi type... cool one... and kite runner was a great book... i never read it though... have heard the story only

    nice 1 dude...
    thoda filmy hain..
    par acha laga..

    Ah lovely story!

    simple n uncomplicated :)

    Nice one!

    manja.. wah wah!!!

    cool one... dummies guide to Kite flying :D.... he he he

    i didnot read this blog.sorry.
    but just had to comment-this is the coolest blog i've ever come across.not because of the writings,i haven't read any of the posts, but the idea is pretty cool.hope the posts r too.

    cmnt moderation.rats.

    as i said .....reminded me of childhood....when things were simpler and better....
    keep writing....(d faster the better for ppl like us.)

    lovely :) did remind me of kite the author! ur narrative style is good

    On February 19, 2009 at 9:47 PM     
    Sam said...

    Good one... Really nice..

    On February 20, 2009 at 12:28 AM     
    aroop said...

    hahahahhahahaha... nice to see i wasn't the only one who exploited your innocence... and we all love babya don't we... I suddenly miss him a lot...

    Awesome !! you are too good with words :)

    Thanks.. yeah its a lovely book.. Definitely among my top 3 books..

    I havent done with A thousand spelndid sons yet..

    Bout ahmed, that was a typo.. thanks for pointing it out..

    Thank you! :)

    Good one.. Its a good book.. read it!

    hehehe... I know!!
    Girl-boy love story coming soon! :)

    Wow!! I am honoured..
    Thanks for the kind words man!

    @HIREN aka lamda said...
    Hmm.. Thanks..
    Filmy is my usp re! hehehe :P

    @Winnie the poohi said...
    Thank you! :)

    Thanks man!

    @The Rat...
    hehehehe.. good one

    @damsel in distress
    I hope you like the posts too! :)

    Thanks! I was caught up on GD PIs. Will be more regular now..

    The kite runner is among my top 3 fav books!

    Thanks man!

    hehehe.. apparently other guys took advantage too :P
    Babya is the man, isnt he!

    @Pretty Me!!

    nice read.good flow.
    you should try "a thousand splendid suns " too..i felt it is better than kiterunner.

    As weird as it may sound you have actually motivated me to write my own have a dekkho...and leave a few wrds of encouragemnt

    I finished reading- A thousand.., I think its fantastic, but I still cant choose between the two, i believe the kite runner might have an edge..entirely my opinion though.. :)

    Whoa! chalo, kuch toh aacha kam kiya maine :P
    All the best.
    And yes, Welcome to blogosphere.

    On July 8, 2010 at 3:38 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    Want to buy good quality Manja?
    Buy online.

    On July 8, 2010 at 3:39 PM     
    Varun said...

    Join D Fighter Kite group on Facebook!