Friday, March 02, 2007


As I type these words, I look from time to time at the fine scar that marks one of the joints on my left index finger... an odd reminder of a very interesting afternoon that I experienced not too long ago.

Strange as it may seem, until the above mentioned afternoon, I had never experienced kite-flying (to be fair, that is technically still true...but let me come to that in a bit!). Somehow, my childhood never included the endless hours of fascination with a brightly coloured kite, that form an integral part of my father's memory of his youth. I had never regretted this absence...there were always a dozen other things to keep me occupied at any given moment.

However, I must admit, that when a good friend suggested that I try it, I welcomed the opportunity with no small measure of eagerness! There is something fascinating about flying a kite...watching it soar into the skies and guiding it's direction. I'd often watched children spend hour upon hour just running against the breeze in order to send a kite into the sky...and I'd wondered what it was like to feel the wind tug at one's kite and take it higher and higher in the direction of the heavens.

So, on the afternoon in question, I found myself on the roof of an apartment block, squinting on account of a fiercely burning sun and enjoying the droughts of wind that wafted over from the nearby lake. Two friend, both experienced kite-fliers, were there with me, busying themselves with the technicalities of whatever it is that goes into launching a kite. They discussed the various positions from which the kite would be best launched, the changing direction of the wind, the composition of the kite and even the way the string should be wound... a fascinating study for someone as inexperienced as myself.

Imagine my consternation, however, when not even one of us managed to get that kite airborne for even a minute! I realised that kite-flying might not be so easy after all, when I noticed that almost an hour had been spent in watching the poor kite crash repeatedly into just about everything on that roof (including us!). The incessant succession of failed attempts came to an end when an over zealous tug at the kite-string left me with a cut on my left forefinger.

Not the most productive afternoon, if you measure productivity by number of successes. But it was certainly one of the most enjoyable afternoons I'd spent in a while. You see, it didn't matter that I did not manage to get that kite into the sky or watch it go further and further in the direction of the clouds. What I relished each moment was the fact that I was experiencing something that I had missed for over two decades of my life. In a strange way, I felt a sense of completeness that had nothing to do with that was more about giving a treat to the child in me. I laughed at the kite as it came down again and again...and I shared the mirth of my veteran companions, who had no dearth of quips and jibes to make each time the poor kite plummeted earthward! It wasn't about achieving was about being in the moment, enjoying the time that we had together...which is something that adults lose so easily, even though it is something that comes naturally to their children. I felt my inner child laugh that afternoon. The kite may never have experienced the delight of being airborne, but my spirit flew high amongst the clouds, happier than the brightest kite you could imagine!