Tags: kite


The soaring kite


I went up to the terrace
To look at the view.
I was feeling down.
I needed cheering up, I knew.

Against the blue sky
And the clouds, grey and white,
I found it flying....
A solitary kite.

Not coloured, but black.
The string was taut, not slack.
Tethered to realities
That lay on the ground,
It yet soared with hope.

Perhaps it had found
The truth that although
Our moods may be stark
We should reach for the sky...
And find the light in the dark.

I came back downstairs
With a heart that felt light
I'd learnt a good deal
From that soaring kite.



Terraces....I look at the houses around me in St.Louis, and this is one feature I miss...all these houses have sloping roofs, so that the occasional snow can slide off. However, in India, most houses and apartment buildings are topped by flat terraces, which have multiple uses, and which add to the rich texture of life in my country.

The first use is, of course, to harvest all that solar energy that hits the rooftop of the house. Women bring their vegetables, pickles, and fritters to be dried in the sun, and the terrace of a home is often a delight for a small child, with delicious tibits spread out on mats. Some children are also given the job of guarding these self-same tidbits against marauding crows and sparrows, with the promise of a small reward (augmented, of course, by regular samplings!)

The terrace is the place (no longer true in apartments, alas!) where the family's washing is brought up to be dried, by free solar power. Who has not been entranced by the lines of colourful clothes billowing in the sunlight!

Terraces have always been associated with love, which often is carried on under the guise of all the activities above! Those who are caught up with the mundane details of life in the lower floors, often come up to indulge in romance....the young girl spreading out the sarees on the clotheslines often lifts up her eyes to the young man teaching his younger brother to fly a kite...

Unfortunately, the terrace in a building is quite a public space, and other people (epecially children) delight in spoiling the mood of the lovers.

Here's a song with children playing voyeurs..." mottai maadi mottai maadi love jodi love jodi"...terrible lyrics, but the song is fun!

ThanimayilE inimai kANa mudiyumA (Can you find sweetness in loneliness?)

Many Muslim houses also keep their "kabootharkhana" (pigeon nests) on the terraces, and its beautiful to see the birds fluttering up in unison against the morning or the evening sun.

The terraces of old houses have given rise to many romances, and many songs are pictured on terraces. Here's a beautiful song set on a terrace:

Here's a nice cartoon about love-on-the-terrace:

terrace 220213 photo terrace.jpg

With shamiyanas constructed on them, terraces also used to make a good place for food to be served during family weddings, in the days when weddings were held at home.

I remember, so many of us together, during the Leonid showers a few years ago, or when there were lunar eclipses, gathering with chai and snacks to watch the celestial spectacles...

Even today, in an apartment building, a terrace is often a kind of common space where neighbours can meet and spend a little time together. On a terrace, one is somehow apart from, and above, the cares that oppress one down below. The perspective and the view are different, and it's a good time to enjoy oneself, or introspect....

Given this social history of terraces, it's a pity so many builders just put a lot of water pipes on the terraces of apartment buildings, and completely spoil what could be a great place to gather and socialize. I do love terraces, as an extension of Indian habitation.

Brahminy Kites at Lalbagh 010308

Apart from the other birds sighted at Lalbagh last Saturday, it was lovely to see four BRAHMINY KITES enjoying the air currents and gliding lazily around, landing on the huge Ficus benjamina trees and then taking off again. Here are some shots I took of these handsome birds in flight:

two brahminy kites lalbagh 010308

Here's one of them in front view:

brahminy kite front forward

And one that catches the bird as it soars up:

brahminy kite beak shadow

And another that catches it using those powerful wings to great effect:

brahminy kite going up!

Alas, I never got all four birds close enough together to get a single shot of them...but obviously, the Brahminy kites at Lalbagh are breeding and doing well, and that is heart-warming..as usually, one gets to see only one Brahminy kite for every twenty or thirty Black (pariah) kites.

I still think we human beings have been incredibly foolish in our evolutionary path, not to have learnt how to fly (by ourselves, that is)!

Madivala Lake....short but sweet

Adarsh and Nisarg took me along to Madivala Lake this morning, and though we didn't have a great variety of birds, the SPOT-BILLED PELICANS, the ASHY PRINIAS, the TAILOR-BIRDS, a magnificient BRAHMINY KITE, CORMORANTS, CATTLE EGRETS, POND HERONS, PURPLE MOORHENS, GREY HERONS (apart from the usual crew of KMC...KITE/MYNAH/CROW) made for a very interesting time indeed.

Here's the scene that greeted us as we entered the gate:

pelicans and grass madivala lake 241107

You can see the pelicans serenely floating around...the water-hyacinth that has choked up the lake may actually be keeping the boaters from approaching the birds too closely....

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And the keen eye of the raptor...er...en"raptored" me!

eye of the brahminy kite madivala lake 241107

A lovely morning...thank you, Adarsh and Nisarg!

Black-Shouldered Kite in Flight, 300907,Nandi Hills

Photo taken by KM...I do wish he had more time for photography!

image001-1 black-shouldered kite flight nandi hills 300907

The black-shouldered kite, with the "spectacles" and those lovely feathers, is a real beauty. yathin says this one is probably a young female.

The bird kept on hopping to the next telephone pole on the road, and led us a merry chase for quite twenty minutes before finally flying off.

The Image that Stays...

Today I attended a Celebrtity Wedding with Many Page Three Personalities Making Their Appearance....but the image that stays in my mind at the end of the day is of this wonderful-looking creature, at the Bangalore Rehabilation Centre, an animal rescue and rehab centre that I visited this afternoon.

Juv Brahminy Kite 090707

The kite was apparently treated and released to the wild; but he (I think it is a he, could a she have, in asakiyume's words, this "fierce gaze"?) keeps coming back, and seems to be held in great affection, too!

A whole crowd of parakeets had been rescued from somewhere and Salim and his team were trying desperately to make some sickbay cages ready for the sick ones among them.

I don't know if they need money or not; but they do need volunteers of all sorts....