“The optimist pleasantly ponders how high his kite will fly; the pessimist woefully wonders how soon his kite will fall.” – William Arthur Ward
Even though Easter is still a little ways off, the skies are already dotted with kites dancing and singing in the wind above my village. Not so coincidentally, the vendors in the markets are already hocking their ready-made kites.
Depending on my mood, the incessant buzzing of the kites evokes either of two emotions: It’s either so rage-inducing that I pray for the archery skills of Arjun, or William Tell — so that I could shoot all of the kites out of the sky! Or it makes me intensely nostalgic for my childhood past. For right now, being back in dear old Guyana for a month, I seem to be in a more nostalgic sort of mood.
And why not? Some of my fondest childhood memories are my memories of Easter. As for many, Easter has become a secular holiday, with persons of all religions using the day for a fun day of relaxation with relatives and friends. It’s the kind of happy syncretism that is also evident at Holi.
So here I am, reminiscing about Easter during Nav Ratri, when my family and I have just concluded our grand annual Puja to Shiva, Hanuman and Saraswati. For Guyanese, Easter means kite flying – which my dad assured us as kids is also very popular in North India, from whence my ancestors came — as I discovered after reading the ‘Kite Runner’.
My dad used to make our kites from scratch. Half of the fun of Easter is assembling your kite and choosing the coolest colours of kite paper; and adding stars and sparkles to make your kite look better that your brother’s.
The other half was trying to add as much kite paper as possible to the frills of the kite to make it the most colourful kite ever. As babies, we all were always attracted to shiny or colourful objects, and we clearly haven’t gotten over that as yet!
My dad was always very particular about the “loop” and the tail. Many don’t appreciate that these dictate what the kite will do in the air later.
My Nani and Nana used to take me and my brother out to the seawall to fly our kites. We’d sit out there for hours, enjoying the fresh air, our kites, and the snacks my mom had packed. Looking back at our pictures from previous Easters always make me smile: the four of us all ready to spend the day out, with my brother and I decked out in sunglasses and kites almost as tall as we were.
There was something just so wonderful about just sitting on the seawall watching my kite flutter as if it were reaching for the clouds. Kites not only make you look upwards; they also make your imagination soar. Life stretched infinitely in front of me in a sun-drenched sky.
Since I’m home for Easter this year, perhaps I’ll get to recreate the Easters of my childhood, homemade kites and all. I hope! With testing matters like doing my elective in OB/GYN at Georgetown Hospital and dealing with public transport hopefully behind me, it’ll be nice to just relax and unwind. So this Easter you might just find me lying in a field firmly clutching my kite-string, gazing at my kite soaring far above.