As a kid, it was always fascinating to hear an airplane crossing across. Anytime i hear it, i would just step out of my house to see its awwness. Despite strong daylight harming my vision, i would squeeze my eyes to get enough sight of it. That would naturally inspire many kids to build an origami plane. Despite having bad aerodynamics and weaker structure, it still met my purpose of making me self-happy. As we start to get into our 15teens, like airplanes, we also get fascniated by the kites. It was a bliss holding it while it was already 10s of feet high.
Every year there used to be a festival of kites in different regions of India happening for two days. We make our own kites, painting it vibrant, tailing it long, feathering it silky. We put all our MAD skills as an young unworrying individual to make it look like a signature like creation. Every year i get some lessons learnt from incidents happening during those days. Two such years were 2010 and 2011 which made me rethink about the vision we should have.
2010 — Day 1
On the first day everyone started to land at their terraces around 2-3 pm. First action would be to look around and search for kites in vicinity. If none, we pride ourselves like Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reaching the terrace first. But every time someone will be reaching before us with kites in sky already. There was a guy who made Dragon with Red body and fiery wings. He flew it so high that it looked like a butterfly from ground. Some would be an idle spectator while others would be maniacal. That’s a strong word, but yes, there were maniacs. I am not misanthropist by the way. Who wouldn’t participate in such a festival? In festival mood, we only think of enjoying the moment and enjoying the flights.
Then came a surprising little buddies, with their weird-shaped Kite, landing on their terrace as i was preparing for my flight. There were two of them with pointy ears and thick brows, one with uni-brow, in their 13teens may be. They looked amateur. Before they could fly their flatworm shaped kite, they were looking at the sky with pupil widening as much as possible to allow the rays reflecting the colors to pass through. Admiring the Blend of Colors, they start to fly their flatworm.
As a kite rider, i would wait for the wind to favor me till it reaches some heights. I held a small piece of paper tail in air to see if there was a wind on my direction. So i was waiting for my opportunity with my Spider-man kite. Those buddies (I can name them Timon and Pumba so i don’t have to say buddies anymore) were not looking for the wind. Timon held the spool and Pumba started to walk slowly, accelerating against the air. Within minutes he was able to fly his flatworm after some three retries. Timon had flair for flying kites even in low speed wind. As seconds passed he flew high his kite. I was wrong thinking as amateurs, they should have mastered their skills for some time. I was looking at them amazed with my about to rot paper still held in my hand without any evidence of wind on my direction.
Timon wiggled his spool and took a step in the direction of kite. One thing i noticed was their consciousness in not heightening after some point. Pumba’s effort was not there since after the start of flight. It was Timon who was controlling for remaining part. Holding spool on his left hand and thread on his right, he looked very calm and not bothering about the height it flew.
Meanwhile i had started to fly my kite somehow with wind playing the role of Pumba. Within minutes i flew my kite higher than theirs. As a kite rider, everyone would be urged to fly higher to show their skills. Though it was a festival, people would start to compete each other virtually. We start to feel prestigious if our kite flew highest. Seeing one, other would start to unleash his potential. Seeing all this, young Timon and Pumba were odd ones out. After so many minutes passed, their kite was at same height at same place. They don’t seem to put effort to fly high. I could compare its height to that of 4 storey building. Mine had already gone to 15 storey.
As time passed, with wind slowing down, i had to lower my spidey to 10 storey. Still my soul was in pride as Pumba was still at his 4th grade. Any unstrong kite can get flown away easily. Or it would start to whirl around and stuck onto something that finds its way. They were tactically handling the paws to keep it steady, still they were in their Four’s. So no worries.
As the day came to it’s end, we pulled our kites. Even while grounding them, there used to be a silly competing mind knocking our heads. There was another guy flying his kite around 14 storey height. When it came to 10 from 14, we had virtual eye contact. Now the task was, who would ground first. There wont be any countdown of 1 to 3, we would start to pull immediately as soon as our face nods. Pulling fast was easy, but spooling the thread faster was the skill that got valued. Both of us managed to ground around same time but i was the winner from my perspective and he was from his perspective. Then what? We signed off with thumbs up compliment. I did not bother to look at Timon, since i was already a winner and they were still at 4 storey, poor souls.
2010 — Day 2
I landed on my terrace the next day with same spidey. It was already late but still, i was a winner the previous day, so i took it with less care. As we were busy with our flights, i did not see Timon and Pumba at their terrace. Did they know if it was a festival and we have a Day 2 ? Why to bother if they were non-competing individuals. Time passed by same like Day 1, signing off with thumbs up gesture but this time with one another person. We wrapped our belongings and headed back to our usual lives thanking ourselves.
2011 — Day 1 (I know i fast forwarded an year with just two ENTER keys, but this post is not about what happened for rest of the year)
Thinking of how an year passed away just like that, we all started off Day 1 with same level of enthusiasm as previous year. Starting off with low heights, my kite was enjoying its pleasant flight amidst slow moving wind. After few seconds of flight, a wierd object started to appear in my vision radar. Adjusting my focus i started to stare at the object which was rolling like a screw. It was like someone trying to drill the sky and pierce the atmosphere. After few moments of stare I figured out it was just another kite. I could not compute its height as I have not seen a kite flying so high. My memory flashed the Flatworm kite it had stored last year and it was trying to help me to recollect Day1 2010. OH, it should be the same guys, and i started to look for Tim and Pum. I did not see them at their terrace but i was sure it should be theirs. Searching for both, i turned around 360 degree at the slowest RPM a motor could spin. I had no idea from where it was controlled. But it was the highest of all kites i had in my vision. My inner maniac was tempting me to release more thread and show them my kite was highest. But my intellect was resisting. After few difference of opinions between Mind and Intellect, Mind commanded to release more thread. I have not done this before but thread was pulling me up the sky that i had to hold very tight and the thread started to cut on my fingers. I did not want to take more risk, so i left it where it was. Accepting the defeat, i was waiting for time to settle and trace the owner.
By sunset, everyone started to land their flights. I started to pull faster, ignoring gestures from neighbours as i was not in competing mind anymore. As the Screw kite came down slowly, like a distant planet falling into vicinity of webb telescope, thread was visible hanging onto the screw. My eyes slowly traced the thread until i could reach someone hands holding onto it. Halfway down the line, i saw some minor kites tied around. Maybe someother maiacs tried to pull the screw down and ended up losing their fellows. How come it was so strong and still it flew so high ! Man, i really need to speak to those guys. As my eyes reached the end, i saw 3 people near the edge of terrace and helping the 4th person to pull the thread. It was the same TIMON with addon spectacles onto his uni-brow eyes. Looked like Pumba got some new friends to help them. But why would they use this new terrace, why not their old place ! By the time they could land their screw, i recognized the two familiar faces, it was my friend’s terrace and they were my friend and his beloved brother. They were helping Tim and Pum. They successfully landed their screw after long hustle.
I left my terrace with gunning speed and wanted to catch hold of them before they could leave. I just wanted to know how their kite was made and their strategy in making it strong. I did not wait for my bicycle to be returned by my brother, who took it already without asking me. Running on my bare foot chasing the wind, i ended up at friend’s house knocking the door loud. As he opened the door, searching inside his house and not allowing him to answer back, i kept asking him about those two buddies. “They left just now”, he replied. It was time for my body to relax and i reached for the couch. After few inhales and exhales, i enquired about them and their kite to my friend.
“They are my cousins and their father, Karan Uncle, is a pilot. Everytime they see a plane go by, they used to wave hands and stare at it until it blurs. One day uncle told them to become aeronautical engineers. These guys did not even know what is engineering since they were still in their grade 5. Then uncle told them to play with kites and tutored them about different shapes of kites. Since then, they have been doing experiments with different kites and they would try at different terraces. They do this every month, not in specific during kite festival. In fact, they dont even care if there is a festival”, he left a pause to drink some water.
Curious on their kites, i asked him about the Flatworm and the Screw.
“Flatworm is actually designed for maintaining the height in slow wind. If the support of wind is less, it can still survive its height with minimal effort because of its shape”
“Screw flight is totally different from their usual thought, it is archimedes Screw kite. Archimedes Screw has screw shaped surface inside a hollow cylinder. If rotated on one side, it lifts water from lower region to higher region. If placed against free flowing fluid, it rotates on its own which will be used in generating powers. This kite is like screw placed in free flowing air. It will make through air by its rotary motion making it robust against any strong wind. Normal kites does not stand against strong wind since surface area will be more and effect of wind will be high at higher altitudes. Hence this Screw kite was able to withstand even at great height. Only thing is we should have enough strength to hold of it”, finishes his scientific explanations.
I was left blind by their thoughts about kites. I was wrong, i have been thinking them as competitors but they were doing their routine job. With a thankful gesture, i left his home with circling thoughts.
2011 — Day 2
This time, i wanted to be a spectator on Day 2 without any thoughts in mind. I did not want to participate, I just wanted to enjoy the moment and record them into my memory for later years. Just like last year, Tim and Pum were not seen. There were usual kites flying at different heights. After few hours of enjoyment, i headed back to my usual life.
Time to end
What’s there in this normal life incident, why should i bother much. It was not just an incident, it was about my foolishness. When i am flying high, i always compared with others and wanted to fly more. When someone achieves something, i wanted to achieve even more. We fail to improve on our capabilities and get rushed away by other’s achievements. Every day we come across people who achieve more in their field of expertise.
To me kite festival was not a festival, i wanted to show myself as i am best. But Tim and Pum did not see that as a festival, it was just another day of their usual experiment. With the introduction to social media, “Status” has become a major factor in deciding our behavior. Never let their status alter your behavior. If there is something you can learn from their status, well you can follow them. But status like “My first ride — New Car”, “Picture after long time with my babe” has nothing to do to us. And you dont have to show anyone your capabilities, if your soul knows it you know it.
Be an intellect in choosing your purpose in life. We have two options: Either have a strong vision OR have strong capabilities. If you have strong vision which cannot be compromised, improve your capabilities and work towards it untiringly. If your vision is unclear, keep learning and improve on your strength, ultimately you will find your destiny. Life is like a festival, some experiment with it, some compete with each other and some just watch and enjoy its moments. Its upto us to position ourselves. Life is meant to be lived, not raced.
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