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Short story: The kite pilot of Ahmedabad

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By Maulik Jain

Near Ahmedabad, Gujarat, there once lived a boy named Patang. His family stayed close to the main city of Ahmedabad whose natives were called “true Gujaratis”. And when one thinks about Gujarat and Ahmedabad, the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘The Kite Festival or Makar sankranti.’ This festival is very popular in the Western parts of India and is celebrated in high spirits. In Ahmedabad, people from all over the world come to see the sky full of kites or rather only the kites because the sky is not even visible due to them.

Patang was also very fond of kites since childhood. He and his family used to fly kites during the winters and there he learnt to fly a kite at the age of 5. He was highly skilled at it, a genius, or rather ‘The kite pilot’ – a name he gave to himself.

He used to fly kites with his friends and was the best among them. He was even better than some adults. In his imagination, he was not flying the kite with a string but he was sitting on a kite and flying it as if it was an aeroplane. That’s why he called himself, ‘The  kite pilot.’ He was poor and didn’t have many resources. So, his friends and he ran across streets to catch kites that were cut. By the time he was 9, he was probably the best kite flyer in his neighbourhood. His childhood went really well until he was 11 years of age. That was when he left flying kites due to academics. He had to go to Mumbai for his college after he completed his schooling.

When he returned to his hometown during his college years, he saw children on the rooftops flying colourful and beautiful kites in the sky. He remembered the fun he used to have when he was a child. His desire to fly kites ignited again and soon he reached the house’s rooftop to start flying them.

The next day in the morning newspaper, he saw an article about a kite-flying competition in Jaipur. After that, he booked a trip to Jaipur to participate in the competition. As he reached there, he came to know that the competition had been postponed to the next day. Everything was happening very fast. He was tired due to the trip but was very excited. It was his first competition and it seemed that he was living his dream. He couldn’t sleep at all that night.

On the next day, he was as awake as a hibernating bear. He went to the ground where the competition was being held with a dizzy face. He saw more than a hundred people on the ground. He knew that the competition was going to be really tough.

As he started flying, everybody’s kites were in the sky and the whistle blew. At that very moment, kite fights began all over the sky. And one kite was on a rampage. It had cut 4 kites at one pull and was heading towards Patang’s kite. He was scared for a moment but then he caught himself and went for the cut. And guess what! He lost. Not from the kite on rampage but from another kite that was behind him. He didn’t notice it at all. He didn’t even manage to cut a single kite and he lost. He knew that he had to train more and be attentive. Most importantly, he needed to sleep.

After that, he and his family roamed around Jaipur city. After two days, they went back to Ahmedabad. This trip was refreshing for him, it taught him something. He realised that he was not yet the best pilot and therefore, he decided that he will learn and practice more to give that competition another try. 

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