Festive spirit soars high

As the chill receded to some extent and the sun shone, the azure sky broke into small dots of colour.

It was a war high up there, as capital residents, keeping true to the tradition of Makar Sankranti, indulged in a game of kite flying. Ranchi witnessed several kite-flying competitions on Monday with the spirits of children, youngsters and adults soaring high. The crowds gathered at various grounds broke into cheers every now and then whenever a competitor snapped the thread of another kite.

At RIMS, as many as 100 medicos, doctors and nursing staff took part in a kite flying competition, aptly named Kati Patang, at the institute's cricket grounds. "We flew kites with designs of the forthcoming Indian-England ODI. It was a healthy competition as we are all friends. I managed to snap the maximum number of kites," said Amit Gupta, a third-year medical student.

For Shikha Anand, the event brought back the joyous memories of his childhood. "It was like I was transported to my childhood days when we used to fly kites in the neighbourhood," gushed the third-year student.

"We had purchased 2,000 kites, thread and latais from local shops that were distributed among doctors, nurses and trainee medicos," said Shashi Yashi, also of third year.

Equally competitive were the 5,000-odd kite loves, who had trooped to Jaipal Singh stadium near Kutchery. There were also prize money ' Rs 21,000 for the winner, Rs 11,000 for the first runner-up and Rs 5,000 for the second runner-up.

"Hum log bachpan se patang uda rahe hain. Ye moka ab hum log khona nahin chahte hain (We had been flying kites since childhood and didn't want to let go of an opportunity to go back to those carefree days," said Ratan Kumar, a local businessman of Upper Bazar area.

Agreed Rajneesh Sinha, a Class XII student of DAV Public School, Bariatu. "I have been flying kite with my friends since I was 5 and it's one of the most relaxing sports. We are here to take part in this competition and look forward to winning a prize," Sinha said as he tried to balance his kite.

The sprawling Morabadi grounds also hosted 2,000 kite lovers. The competition there was organised by a local Hindi daily.

The competitions have set the cash boxes of kite sellers jingling. Md Talib, owner of Talib Patang House situated near Karbala Chowk, said: "This year, we have sold almost 20,000-30,000 kites. The demand has gone up since today (Monday) morning. The kites are priced between Rs 2 and Rs 20 depending on their shapes and designs," he said.

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