Nagpur: With the dawn of January 14, ‘Makar Sankranti’ day, skies in Orange City went colourful. Kites of different hues and colours soared the clear but chilly blue skies. Being second Saturday, a holiday, hundreds of young boys and girls joined by elders, with friends, families and relatives the kite flying reached its frenzied peak at terraces, and even grounds. The atmosphere reverberated with shrill cries of “O Paar” and “O Kaat.” The yummy Til Laddu, Gujiya and other snacks added flavor to the festivity.
The night before the main Makar Sankranti day, markets go abuzz with people. They are all selecting their stash for kite flying the next day.
The NGT ban on nylon manja has failed to dampen the spirits. “Aare Bhai, other kind of manja is available in markets in plenty. Koi chinta nahi.”
The kite flying is by no means a friendly pass time that people indulge in for Makar Sankranti. Some closely fought contests take place mid air. Save your kite and bring the other person’s down is the name of the game.
The festival time is also the time for the traditional “Sharyat” (a kind of gambling) between the crazy buffs. In the “Sharyat” if the kite of a “Sharyati” gets cut (Kaat), he or she is loser. And the loser pays the pre-determined money to the “Sharyat” winner. This is not a small game. Lakhs change hands as commercial areas such as Itwari, Gandhibagh, Sitabuldi, Dharampeth, etc are hubs of “Sharyat.”
A businessman, talking to Nagpur Today on condition of anonymity, said that a class of traders and prominent citizens are continuing the tradition of “Sharyat” enthusiastically. Bets are waged on snapping the kites of rivals. Police too don’t act against the “Sharyatis,” generally. May be they are not aware of the “players” even though lakhs change hands. The show goes on without a hitch.
A category of professions in the field play the game with a system. The participating parties deposit certain amount (say Rs 50 lakh) with the organizer or a trusted entity a day before. The game of “Sharyat” is played on Makar Sankranti but with a set of rules and regulations. And there is toss also for the kite and chakri (manja) between the two players. The winner of toss chooses the kite and chakri of his choice. The bet begins with certain amount (say Rs 5 lakh) and the amount grows with the “fertile” situation. Then there is “draw” also if there is no loser or winner. In such time, the game is cancelled but for a while, the businessman said.
All said and done, remember kite flying is team sport! An experience to cherish forever!!
By Ravikant Kamble