Basant fever engulfs Karachiites

By Fasahat Mohiuddin
As Basant lurks around the corner, Karachiites gear up to celebrate this much-awaited festival in the second week of February.

There are several kite flying clubs in Karachi; the Jubilee Club, Nisar Club and Saheen Club to name a few. These clubs play host to several tournaments each year. Moreover, kite flying is also practiced at the Super Highway, Clifton and New Karachi.

Irshad, President of Jubilee Club, said that before flying a kite, wind direction is gauged. Special kites are then used so that they can adjust to the wind direction. Generally kite flying competitions are played in open grounds and on rooftops. As per the rules of the game, the Peychaa is always done from the upper side – a Karachi-specific regulation. “Here, the kites are cut with Ghaseeta whereas in Punjab, Dheel is used,” added Irshad.

Before the match actually starts, one of the participants call out “Sahi Hai” (okay) after which the game begins. This lasts for five minutes, but the game does not end here. The next round starts after this and the entire thing takes about 15 minutes or more. The tournament continues for anywhere between 10 to 12 weeks.

Also worth mentioning here is the fact that the kites used in these tournaments are specially crafted by hand for the purpose and have interesting names such as Panda and Reech (Bear). Meanwhile, the white cotton thread used in the game is called Saddee or Manjhaa, and is chemically treated to make it strong and flexible. This thread is usually available in Liaquatabad, New Karachi, Malir and Landhi. Each kite costs Rs22.

Earlier, said Irshad, a Charkhee was used to wind the thread. Now, there is a small manually operated wheel attached to the thread which makes the entire process easier.

“A huge deal of investment goes into kite flying as several industrialists are fond of the sport,” he added.


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