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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Trying "Lapet!" Instead Of Pongal-o-Pongal

Image from Businessworld
Today was the festival of Makar Sankranti, as known in most parts of India (Uttarayan in Gujarat, Bhogi Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bihu/Lohri/ and a bunch of other names given in various other parts of India). These festivals are the harvest festivals celebrated all over India by different names, and are celebrated over two or three days. 

Studying in Gujarat, a popular practice in Northern and Western parts of India during Uttarayan or Sankranti is kite flying, and I got to try that. My University had a stock of it, and they gave us all the kites and the thread as a part of celebrations on-campus. 

All you need to do is get your kite up in the air, pull or leave the string of the kite at the right time, and see it soar! Sounds simple? Not really, take my word. Conceptually, I felt pretty strong and seemed to understand what those expert-kite-flying-friends made look simple. But, when I tried on my own, my brain just forgot what I understood, and I swear it was just frantic pulls at the string that sent it crashing down. Oops. But, I wasn't alone, so yay we tried, and it so much fun! 

One of my friends was teaching me where to make the holes, and how to tie the thread. That part is easy. Then you get the kite up in the air. This is by far the most difficult, and I should say it requires practice. 'When the kite is looking up, you pull. That's how it goes up,' I told myself while trying to get the kite up and also remember the rules. But, somehow my brain always got it wrong and pulled it when the kite is looking down, and within no time the kite was on the ground. 

Kite flying is not just about flying. They also try to cut off others' kites. It's a game. And, it requires a lot of skill. So, when you want to cut someone's kite, you take your kite and the thread above theirs, and let them roll it, until their thread gets caught in yours and then you pull it sharply. It's not simple at all. And, there it goes, as they shout "Lapet!", meaning "wind it up" to signify that the opponents have to just roll back their threads! My friends cut 5 other kites with a loud, cheerful cry of Lapet!

It was so much fun. And, the kite flying ended with a special lunch in the University mess with Undhiyo, Jalebi, Gujrati Dal and Pooris. And, tomorrow there is an offer near my college at a Tamil Restaurant for a special meal of VenPongal, SakkaraiPongal, Medu Vadas and Payasam, which I can't wait for! 

Wish you a very happy Pongal!

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