Monday, January 17, 2011

The day the sky bursts into colors!

If you have not celebrated Sankranti in Gujarat, put it on your "100 things to do before I die" list! This is a must-have experience. For the uninitiated, Sankranti or Uttarayan, is a festival to celebrate the harvest season. The highlight of the festival is the flying of kites by thousands of young and old, women, men and children all over the city. Residents of the state of Gujarat are serious about this festival and we were fortunate to spend it this year in the cities of Anand and Baroda.

We spent the day of the festival (January 14th) in Anand with a number of Mona's cousins, nephews and nieces. The day was mostly spent on the terrace of an old house in Mona's ancestral neighborhood. The sky was dotted by thousands of kites of different colors. It looked like the entire population of the city had found it's way to every inch of a terrace of every building. Many of them had even setup their music system and were providing free entertainment for everyone. Of course, food, snacks and drinks were in endless supply.

None of us had much experience with flying kites but Ayaana seemed to have a natural talent for it. But all of us tried our hand at it and had a blast doing it. As the sun started to set and it began to get dark, paper lanterns with a small flame started to float in the air. We set out a couple from our terrace as well. As night time rolled in, the sky started to come alive with spectacular fireworks. It was an awesome sight and a fitting end to a memorable day.

We were fortunate to replicate this experience in Baroda on the next day. This time we were on the terrace of Ami (Mona's cousin) and Mayur's (Ami's husband) house. This time we had lots of their friends and neighbors for company. We spent a few hours flying kites and releasing paper lanterns in the sky.

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