The Darjeeling sky used to be once filled with multicolored guddi(kites) during this time of the year. Right after schools ended for winter vacation, flocks of young kids especially boys gathered on the rooftops flying kites.
The competition used to be interesting. ‘Manza’ – an adhesive applied to the string made up of crushed glass powder helped one flyer cut loose the other kite while still on the flight. Everyone in the locality would look up to the sky on the loud cheer ‘GAIYOOO’ of the gang enjoying its victory over the other. Some other cries we often heard those days were ‘Barau hai Barau’ enticing the other flyer.
Kites used to be of a lot of variety. Homemade kites out of those colorful kite papers (tau), plain or with designs, homemade plastic kites, and then came to those ready made plastic kites. Flying a kite definitely needed skills. Boys took turns in flying one kite as it would be hectic and difficult if the flying area was obstructed by some buildings, trees in the hill above and not to forget the electric wires.
Some terms that we heard during those days were – ‘Lata Guddi’, ‘Batha Guddi’, ‘Bhagayta Guddi’ ‘Tanuwa Manza’, ‘Koni’, ‘Ukashnu’ and more.
Kids these days get amazed by these terms, the kite flying stories and these stories are on the verge of becoming one of those ‘dantay kathas’.
Writes: Vivek Yonzone