SOARING THE SKIES KITE FLYING 101
For the people of Nepal, and a few other countries, kites don’t mean the same thing as they do for the rest of the world. A kid running in a field with a wide grin spread across his face holding onto a thread attached to a prissy kite fluttering a few feet above the ground just doesn’t cut it. We take our kites seriously.
Massive spools, roof tops, meat and sunburns punctuate the Nepali kite flying culture. The kites aren’t just paper squares drifting aimlessly in the sky. Each kite has a purpose: to take down as many kites before going down in a blaze of glory, and the men on the end of the thread and spool mean business.
Kite flying has been a tradition that has been around for many years, and every Dashain the beautiful skies are bespectacled with colourful kites and the rooftops with enthusiastic kite fliers. This year too, we can’t wait for the kite flying to begin. If you’re new to the scene though, here are a few basics that will help you get the spool rolling.
*Beginner’s Tip: If this is your first time, you can be sure your kite will act a little awry. If you want an obedient kite which does not give you trouble while flying, tie a long piece of paper, movie reel or plastic on the bottom of you kite so that you have easy control over the kite.
HOW TO ACHIEVE LIFT OFF
Getting things started can be difficult at first, and getting your kite afloat can be a pain. Here’s how you can get about it.
1.Have someone to help you tee off the kite. Ask them to hold the kite by the corners, tail side down, and wait for your signal.
2.Wait for a moderate breeze to come in and then signal your ‘kite holder’ to gently toss the kite into the air.
3. Let the breeze carry the kite into the sky and let the thread unroll from your spool.
4. If the breeze is too light and the kite begins to dip, reel-in the thread to make the kite soar up and let go of the thread again as the kite catches air.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHILE FLYING KITES
Kite flying can be exhilarating, to kids and adults alike. But before you go bounding into the roof tops with your kite, here are a few things to consider before you get at it.
Because there are so few open fields left in Kathmandu, people are obliged to fly kites from roof tops and balconies. The higher you are the better. But that also increases the risk factors involved. Check your surroundings and be aware of where the boundary walls/ railings are. If there are no railings, seriously consider finding a different location to fly your kite from.
Be aware of hindrances in your surroundings like washing lines, flower vase and other objects. Also don’t let children as well as adult sit or stand on the balcony wall. Safety first.
For those living in the urban jungle of the major cities in Nepal, electric wires and poles are a serious hazard for kite flyers. While flying kites it might get tangled in trees, cable lines, telephone lines, electricity lines and other network cables. It is better to let go than break your limbs falling off a tree or worse getting electrocuted from live wires. Even the best kite flier sometimes ends up with their line in a tangle so don’t get frustrated if it happens to you too.
When you spend hours in the sun, you’re most likely to get sun burnt. And it hurts. Make sure you’re wearing the right protection to prevent being toasted. Apply sunscreen lotion properly and wear a hat and preferably full sleeved clothes.
Make sure you drink lots of liquid while you’re flying kites in the sun. And no, beer does not count. In the heat of the moment, there is a likeliness of dehydration.