Smaller kites witness lesser sales. Shopkeepers feel this is because of the ban on nylon strings
Kolkata: Casual kite flyers have decreased over the years in Kolkata while the number of people flying professionally has increased. Shop owners say the sales of smaller sized kites used by the casual flyers have decreased while sales of kites of a bigger size used by the professionals have increased.
According to Bappaditya Dutta, who is the owner of Abiba Kites and has been in the business for the last twenty years, “Children are now burdened with a lot of pressure of studies. Also, whatever free time they have, they are on their phones and computers.” However, he says he was surprised by the sales of smaller kites in the lockdown. “People who did not have time or who got bored with televisions and mobiles flew kites.
Shop owners also say that the banning of the Chinese manjha has had a direct impact on small size kite sales. The nylon strings which are famous among the casual flyers got banned by the Calcutta High Court after a freak accident took a biker’s life back in May. Shopkeepers however say sales have remained constant over the years.
Swarnendu Sarkar, a professional kite flyer was crazy for kites in his childhood. He used to spend a lot of time on the terrace. “It is like an addiction to me or you can say extreme passion. Due to work, I get less time to fly now, but I go to play tournaments whenever I get a chance.” In the lockdown, he was back to his childhood, Sarkar said.
Unlike any other sports, kite flying is expensive. Each big pro kite costs somewhere between 18– 25 Rupees, a reel of match grade Manja costs between 1800–3000 Rupees. Speaking to CityCast, Bunty, a local kite-flying champion said that the tournaments and professional matches take place in the Maidan grounds in Calcutta.
“The team is formed of 4 – 5 players. You need to fly your kite and maintain a 600m distance before starting the match. Each player has to play either with “Dheel” (release of the thread) or “Taan” (Pulling the thread)”.