You have to hold it in your hands to feel it: the tug on the thread spool by the kite that's soaring in the sky. An unequivocal message: its time to let me soar. Let me go, I belong here.
Very few things in life are as obvious: a diamond shaped piece of paper that was meant to fly - and knows it purpose. When the north winds begin to blow, it's the call of rustling paper dreams that begins to play first, the war-cries come much later.
A true kite-flyer is mesmerising when you watch - the symphony between man and object, the former helping the latter get to horizons that have fascinated mankind since we began to write our own history. There's a joy in the tugs and pulls, silent effort in the navigation, and the thrill of feeling the wind play along. It's a journey and a destination whose celebration is very quiet, and very personal. It's a rare meeting place of man and nature and philosophy: the azure blue above waiting to be touched, its improbable physical frontiers broken by the humblest of all things - a scrap of paper.
My earliest memories of Pongal were that nobody in my class knew what it was. Surrounded by predominantly Gujarati friends and family, there were about five people in my life that I could wish a happy Pongal. Squatting next to my mum in the garden, next to the Tulsi shrub, I'd see her roll small mounds of pongal khichdi, speaking to her ancestors, and to the dog, crow and cow. Small yellow mounds on green coconut leaves, the aroma of food and foliage and mud mingling into memories that are now tagged as childhood. Today, only for today, I pray only for my family, she'd say, her nose and cheeks reddening in a sign I deciphered quite early on, that meant she was home-sick. Seeking her parents, family and language in a foreign land, far away, further than just distance measured in miles. She, who had atleast two dozen people on her daily prayer list, who'd hear a moving story and add the characters to her prayer marathon, she, would then close her eyes and remember the siblings who nurtured her, the parents she hurt when she ran away to get married, the grandmother she never knew, the temples she visited when she was a child, her silk skirt rustling as she raced the younger sibling up the stairs. It was one of the few times when my mother was inaccessible to me - her pain and nostalgia was for her alone.
Today, I still have less than five people to wish happy Pongal. I have much lesser faith in God than I'd like, more questions than conversations with Him/Her. But when I squat down to do the ritual that comes to me in automation, I will put aside thoughts of the son and the husband, of my life and it's tiny trials, and think of my family not so far away. Parents, sibling, cousins and grandparents here and those watching from above. And the dog, crow and cow. My nose is reddening too, and my pain and my nostalgia is for me alone.
3 hours ago