February 6, 2007 4:38 AM   Subscribe

The Indian Patang (pdf). Kite flying in India. Kite flying across the world. A link to the history of Kites resources. And India’s Kite flying effects on birds.
posted by hadjiboy (6 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Weren't the kites in The Kite Runner Patang?
It had some good descriptions of the competition.
posted by MtDewd at 5:03 AM on February 6, 2007

That pdf patang link is wonderful hadjiboy! As usual, a delightful post. Really nice images and history.

My dad was an excellent kite maker. He made kites that we flew together in Central park. I couldn't believe how high he could get a kite to go. We once flew one of his creations on 3 reels of kite string. That sucker was so high it was almost impossible to see it.

In an India bazar I came across beautifully colored spools of fighter kite string and couldn't believe that something so peaceful as kite flying could be an aggressive sport. Out of disbelief I ran my fingers down the hot pink string to see what it felt like. Big bloody mistake, lol.

My favorite kites are the Chinese paper dragonfly ones though.

Patangs are also flown in NYC. :)

YouTube vid not so little boys and little boys on rooftops flying kites in India.
posted by nickyskye at 7:18 AM on February 6, 2007

You just can't keep a good kite flyer down — after moving his Wild West show to England in 1890, American cowboy and early aeronaut Samuel Franklin CodyWP designed and patented a large man-lifting kite. He later built and flew Britain's first successful powered aircraft on October 16, 1908, and piloted many other flying machines until his death in a float plane crash in 1913.
posted by cenoxo at 10:49 AM on February 6, 2007

It's not only birds who are in danger, especially during Uttarayan. Wayward strings can wreak havoc on the necks of cyclists & motorcyclists, apparently, with scores of victims every year. Some enterprising desi has invented a special neck-guard as a result.

But yeh - one of the delights of India is watching kites dancing in the skies, flown by boys from the (flat) rooves of their houses. It seems to be the major boyhood pastime, other than cricket, and there are thousands of kites jinking around whenever there is the merest breeze. Even better is when you have a viewpoint from which you can see all these kids on the rooves, attention fixed on their kites, yanking at the strings. It's fun when you spot a dogfight, hear the cry of the victor, and see youngsters dart through the streets to try and claim the fallen prize. The name escapes me now, but there is a fantastic description of this in the memoirs of one particular Indian author. The guy was blind, if that helps.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:51 PM on February 6, 2007

Ah! Ved Mehta. Apparently Pakistani-American. Close enough. The Ledge Between the Streams was the book, I think.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:05 PM on February 6, 2007

Fantastic - many thanks
posted by blag at 10:34 PM on February 6, 2007

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