Monday, November 02, 2009

Ban on kites

“Kite-flying in Chennai is now a non-bailable offence” reported the media last week, leading to speculation if the Taliban had made inroads into this part of the world. Thankfully, today’s TOI reports “After the Chennai Kite Manufacturers and Sellers Association (CKMSA) moved the Madras high court, the city police have clarified that they will not prevent anyone from selling kites. "Action will only be taken against those selling or flying kites with maanja (thread covered with ground glass)," the police said.

On the FM radio this morning, I heard a strong protest from one of the panellists that many of the simple pleasures in life such as kite flying, bursting crackers, playing cricket on the beach are being wiped out of existence on grounds of public safety, while activities that are far more dangerous to public health and sanity face no discouragement at all. He recalled how he had spent so many of his childhood days flying kites and how he still cherishes those memories.

What is it about kite flying that evokes strong emotions? In an earlier post, I had extracted a conversation from one of Somerset Maugham’s short stories, in which two characters would try to figure out why a third character was so madly addicted to kite flying:

“What do you suppose there is in kite flying that makes the damned fool so mad about it?”

“I don’t know”, “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.”

Perhaps that explains.

2 comments:

Ravi KR said...

A recent movie "Sarvam" uses the dreaded 'maanja' as a fatal object where the heroine is driving fast on a road and gets her jugular split with a maanja hanging tight on the road (like a network or tv cable) at her driving height. The actress is played by Trisha, considered as a heartthrob for many chennai-ites. This ban on maanja has come into force in commemoration of that. Maybe it is a conspiracy by auto-manufacturers to increase car sales since there is a hazard to life from driving two-wheelers..!!

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