January 13, 2016

The end of an era?

This is something I wrote on 14 January last year (2015). Today, as I decide not to fly kites this year - for the first time in maybe 20 years - it seems relevant to share this piece of writing with people close to Aditya.
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Sankranti 2015 has come and gone. There was no Aditya on the terrace. Everything was different. We were there only because Harsha and Prabha came from Chennai to experience kite flying in Hyderabad. Shekhar and Paru also came and together they cushioned the hurt deep inside. 

On the terrace, there were many, many people. For the first time we had our own music system blaring the latest film music. There were snacks and chai being served. Many women were dressed in sarees, and looking great. People flew kites, yes, but to me it looked like only attempts at flying kites. Where are the original kite flyers? Is this the end of an era, at least in Kaundinya? There were two or three, perhaps including Vijay and Shekhar. 

I flew kites and felt the usual excitement, but there was a hollow inside. The day after Sankranti, my grief came gushing out, and I thought a great deal about what Aditya meant to me. Having had a childhood surrounded by sportsmen playing badminton and table tennis, flying kites and playing with tops, after I grew up, I found all my childhood companions migrating to the US, a country without maanja. I seem to have lost my childhood. And then, when Ragini was 3 years old, I decided to look for my childhood once again. When I learnt that Aditya loved to fly kites, I decided to join him on the Small House terrace with Ragini. When I saw his passion for kite flying and when I heard his victorious "kaaaaateeee", I think that was the time I found my childhood again. And then he began coming to our terrace every year, filling it with his joyous presence. It was really never about anyone else. It was between Aditya and his kite, and the sole purpose of a good pench and we all shouted each time we heard his victory cry. We saw him teach Akshar kite flying with the same passion and my children too became deeply interested in the sport, with Vijay passing on some of his own passion and expertise. I continued to remain in the state of childhood. 

With Aditya gone, should we stop flying kites? Should we stop being children? No. I think it is all the more important for us to fly more kites, to preserve Aditya's passion and excitement. I would like to see Akshar and Tara fly kites once again; I would like Sankranti to continue to attract people to our terrace to fly kites with us. As Maloo said, it could be a time for everyone to get together every year, just to perhaps cut one kite and shout "Kaaaateeee" together, in one voice. And to feel Adi's presence there.
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Aditya, my friend, we miss you.

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