Kite flying is a venerable tradition that’s enjoyed by the young and not-so-young in so many countries in the world. Who among us hasn’t looked up at the birds soaring so effortlessly in the sky and wondered what it must feel like? Didn’t that Greek kid Icarus fly with wings attached by wax to his arms – but ignored his father’s warning not to fly too close to the sun?? Predictably, the wax melted, and he plunged back into the sea and croaked!! Maybe that’s the origin of the idiom “Go fly a kite!”, meaning, to “beat it”!!??
Well…not being able to enjoy the modern wings used in hang gliding on our flat-as-pancake coastland, the closest we’ve been able to enjoy flying is flying our kites!! And THAT was one of the joys of your Eyewitness’s dissolute youthful life. Making a kite was a basic skill that every boy of his generation had to imbibe if he wanted to retain any self-respect!! His mother’s “pointer” broom was pilfered to make the frame. “Glue” was obtained from the “gamma” fruit – of which a few could also be eaten by the more intrepid!! The “kite paper” had to be bought with hard earned (chores!) pennies and sweets forgone!! The tail was scrounged from his mother’s old skirts!! And those “frills” at the sides!!
But what could match the feeling of transcendental joy when that kite took off at the sea wall, to which his mother would’ve taken him and his siblings on Easter Monday?? Nothing!! Not even the potato balls with sour that his mother packed away in her picnic basket!! That kite would be buzzing and flitting about like a bumble bee on steroids!! Sure, some mean kids, with their fancy, much bigger “wood kites,” scoffed at his “pointer broom” kite. But did they make their kites themselves? Was it their own creation, that they could merge with as the kite rose into the sky when they let out their “reel” to its max?? Even if it touched the sun, it wouldn’t have melted, since “gamma” hardens – not melts – with heat!!
Today, most kites are sold on city pavements, and kids seem to’ve lost the art of kite-making. Can they merge with those kites soaring in the sky? Now, your Eyewitness accepts change as inevitable, but Jeez… those “Chinese” plastic monstrosities!! They violate the spirit of a Guyanese Easter! While our kites were colourful, they were patterned by the structure of the frame, and not gaudy. Or kitsch!!
So, as you read this, dear reader, close your eyes and imagine your Eyewitness communing with higher powers of the universe through his kite!! Happy Easter!!
This time, your Eyewitness IS using the phrase “go fly a kite” as meaning “go away”, scram, vamoose, or as we say, “gwan da side”!! And he’s addressing all those who’re criticising Pres Ali for reaching out to those cane-cutters at Uitvlugt, who’re out of work cause the mill that grinds the cane is down. And will be up at the very best by August!!
Now, for those who don’t know, cane cutters only work for half-a-year, in the 2 “grinding seasons”. They survive during the other half-of-the-year on savings scrounged during the crop. The casual labour they’re now getting is priced at minimum wage – most likely some $2000/daily. How can this take care of a family of four?? And yet the critics are coming out of the woodwork yelling “Favouritism!!”
Up to now, it’s private citizens who’ve been organising relief for the workers. And it’s not only cane cutters who’re affected. What about the spillover in the communities from the reduced money circulating?
Take a hike, critics!!
…but remember the day
We Guyanese have a habit of “sporting” at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t matter what’s the holiday, we break out the bottles and music and get down.
Give a thought to the occasion. Please!