While on a walk this morning, I spotted an old friend up on a tree. Apparently, he was trying to help a small boy get back his kite from a branch on which it had got stuck. “Sighting a kite always takes me back to the carefree days of my own childhood. I could empathise with the boy completely. Losing a kite can be a major tragedy at that age”.
In a lovely short story called, “The kite” by Somerset Maugham, a mother gets her son, Herbert, a kite for Christmas. Soon, it becomes a passion with him. As he grows older, his mother gets him larger and better kites. Mother and son have a regular ritual of kite flying every Saturday. When Herbert reaches adulthood, he falls in love with a girl and leaves his mother’s house. His wife doesn’t have the same fondness for kites and Herbert misses the Saturdays with his mother. He gets jealous when she asks some other boy in the neighbourhood to fly her kites. Slowly, his mother lures him back to her fold, using his weakness for kites.
At the end of the story, one of the characters asks, “What do you suppose there is in kite flying that makes the damned fool so mad about it?” “I don’t know”, another character replies, “Perhaps it gives him a sense of power as he watches it soaring towards the clouds and of mastery over the elements as he seems to bend the winds of heaven to his will. It may be that in some queer way he identifies himself with the kite flying so free and high above him, and it’s as if it were an escape from the monotony of life. It may be that in some dim, confused way it represents an ideal of freedom and adventure. And you know, when a man once gets bitten with the virus of the ideal, not all the king’s doctors and not all the king’s surgeons can rid him of it.”
When the Taliban banned kite flying in