Dilli 6 meets Kite Runner

Finally I won something.. this entry was one of the winning posts at the Blogadda Contest.. Here's what the judge  Tikuli Dogra had to say... Yes yes I'm being immodest.. bear with me.. I really don't win too often... be gald I spared you the video of the jig I performed.

Dilli 6 meets Kite Runner by Tulika Singh: This brought back so many nostalgic memories of kite flying. As I said before the games we play as kids in the neighborhood are the best sporting events. The preparation that goes on for the kite flying contests, the adrenaline rush, the eyes trained to catch the kati patang and the magic of community sporting event all came floating in front of my eyes. I have seen it all come alive at Dilli 6 and heard many such incidents like yours from dad, who was from Allahabad. Great trip back to childhood. Congrats.

I’m not sure this will be classified as a memory of ‘playing’ a sport or even if is a ‘sport’ at all. I’ll let you decide.
I was born and brought up in a small mohalla of old Lucknow. That’s a somewhat Dilli 6 setting, the same interconnected rooftops, pleasant camaraderie and long hours on the terrace.
The hottest ‘sport’ back then was kite flying. No gulli cricket for the mohalla boys. No sir, those were tame games for our toughies. It was a strictly boy thing. The gender barrier was clear.
My sister and I had kept out of the way of ‘the boys’. We stuck to our Nancy Drews and Little Women peacefully playing Chinese Checkers and Carom to while away long vacations.
However it was tough to remain unaffected by the sights and sounds that surrounded us. The terrace of the neighboring house overlooked our garden and was a hotspot for kite kings. Bereft of any parapet it offered full view of all the excitement. “Dheel de, dheel dheel dheel DHEEL DE.. gayi gayi teri toh gayi. Woh chand tara le.. abe chand tara le na… ama yaar kya karte ho…. kaat kaat kaat kaat kaat kheench le kheench le.. gayi gayi gayi… and then mayhem.
Mothers screamed warnings, boys ran recklessly from roof top to roof top, while others dangled dangerously from terraces to catch the kite. Meanwhile the subject of their excitement swayed gently down completely oblivious to the turmoil it had caused. That a flimsy square foot of paper and few bamboo sticks could inspire such thrills seems inconceivable even to me today.
However back then it seemed completely natural. I sat chewing my pencil, my homework untouched, with my eyes on the sky avidly taking it all in. I watched as the boys spent entire days on their terrace not sparing a thought to bleeding/bandaged hands. I saw them mending their kites with boiled rice and dough (yes they stick). I watched as they boasted about their razor sharp manjhas. I heard them brag about bringing down two kites in one go or laugh about broken heads as someone ran to catch a ‘cut kite’.
Sometimes a kite would sway straight into our garden or on our roof and I’d enjoyed my moment of power as tens of hands were held out.. ‘mujhe do, meri hai’.. till I handed it to the lucky one who took my fancy that day.
This, my friends, was an almost everyday affair. However the day after Diwali was special. Shops would down shutters and services would come to a halt as Lucknow geared up to celebrate Jamghat, a day dedicated to kite flying. Men and boys, old and young came together in this kite festival. No mother could dare to protest, no house could close its doors to the boys as they came rushing in behind their catch.
By evening the competitions were at full peak. Amidst all the excitement my sister and I sat in our garden with our school books half- heartedly struggling with our holiday homework. However our ears, eyes, hearts and minds were totally centered on the terrace next door as it buzzed with excitement. The contest seemed to be hotting up between a saffron and gold veteran and a blue and red challenger. All eyes were glued on the high action in the sky with people excitedly taking sides. We too put aside our books and cheered the challenger. The kites met and separated then met again. The countdown had begun.. the weak must go down. Then it happened. The veteran proved it’s mettle as the blue and red came sailing down to loud cheers and disappointed sighs.
Our neighbour’s 10-year-old son had also been observing the match rather keenly but he was more interested in the catch than the match. His eyes fixed on blue-red he dashed to get it. With caution the last thing on his mind he sprinted from terrace to terrace as the kite meandered down and some other kids joined in. Soon the ‘catch the kite contest’ became just as hotly contested as the previous one. The neighbour’s son had a decided edge as the kite made its way to his terrace.. he ran and ran and ran … till he had no clue where his terrace ended and our garden began… in the blink of an eye he was running on thin air and in another blink he found himself falling .. falling.. falling.. right onto Me. There we were – the neighbour’s son and I with my school books and geometry box scattered all around us and my extremely startled sister looking on.
The lucky boy escaped with just a few scratches while I sat nursing a broken ankle for months.
Moral of the story: Watching a sport is injurious to health.                                                                             
PS: Needed to acknowledge my sister's contribution to this post for holding my hand as we walked down memory lane together.

|This post is participating in the BlogAdda contest with the theme “Sporting Memories”. The contest is sponsored by myntra.com.

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