Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Kite filled with hope!

Makara Sankranthi, also known as Pongal, Bihu, or Lohri  across  different regions, is the harvest festival of India that  also heralds a new phase in solar calendar.......bringing in new and auspicious beginnings in the year to come.  Sankranthi also marks  the end of winter ...however I am not sure of the same this year as its been unusually cold in Bangalore over the last few days!  Though personally our celebrations are pretty much low-key for Sankranthi, the first Hindu festival of the calendar year always takes me back to the days when as a little girl I would go door-to-door along with other girls distributing  the sesame seeds  mixture and sugar treats amongst our neighborhood.....almost like a "desi" version of trick-or-treating circuits that kids go during Halloween in the  US. However, distributing "Ellu-Bella" (as it is  traditionally called ) being a "girls only" activity, my eight year old son has never had that experience ....which explains the absence of Sankranthi-related posts on Onestoryaday so far!:-) Hoping that the year 2015 would be a special year in as much as signaling the arrival of someone to carry forward the "ellu-bella" legacy in our home..........  So, I decided to key in a post for this year's Sankranthi..... one filled with hope!:-) 
 In some parts of the country, the harvest season is celebrated by flying kites, with people roaming around streets and converging on roof-tops to engage in good humored battles with others' kites. This week's "Young World" a children's newspaper from "The Hindu" has a special on the kite flying activities in Gujarat. Going by the said tradition, we decided to pick up a kite story from Tulika publications titled  "A Kite called Korika" by Sharada Kolluru and pictures by K.P.Murleedharan. This is a story of a nine year old boy named Yellaiah who lives in a village in Andhra Pradesh. Sensitive to his surroundings, Yellaiah is fascinated by the sounds emanating therefrom – “Gala, Gala sala sala" of the river, “tingu tangu” of the bell over Lakshmi, the cow’s neck or “hrrrr prrrr hrrr” of the bees that trouble Rajamma sitting under the peepal tree. Yellaiah has little brother named Mallaiah who he feels is always trying to pocket his older brother’s belongings. One hot day  when Yellaiah sat with Rajamma under the peepal tree, a beautiful black kite descended from the sky. The kite had the sun, moon, stars and the blue waves painting on its four corners – in short it had the whole universe on it! Rajamma believes that it’s sent from God and felt it was best left in the sky. But when Yellaiah had no plans to letting it go, she told him to keep it but send it back with a wish for God to fulfill. So Yellaiah had to decide what to ask for – a cycle? But soon everybody had a wish for the “korika”, the kite’s new name. His friends had their own wish list – marbles, bangles, new shirt, new ribbon, etc. Mallaiah meanwhile wanted a school bag with his name on it. But before anything, Mallaiah fell sick with fever which many villagers believed that would take him to God. The doctor too had said that Mallaiah may not get well because he was scared and had to be brave to recover. So Yellaiah just knew what to do, and  decided to send Korika with a message to God to help Mallaiah get well soon. But what about the cycle - Mallaiah wondered, to which Yellaiah assured him that he could get a cycle from another such kit. So the next day, his father carried Mallaiah in his arms and both of them watched as Yellaiah wrote on the kite and tossed ‘Korika’ gently into the wind. That night, Mallaiah slept soundly tightly clutching his older brother’s hand. The next day Mallaiah woke up feeling better with his fear gone! Although Yellaiah’s friends thought his wish was not fulfilled, Yellaiah knew that it indeed was fulfilled! Though not a Sankranthi story, this is a heart warming story on sibling love and is in the spirit of Sankranthi filling one with hope and expectation of things getting better or new things to come in the coming year!  Here's wishing everyone a Happy Sankranthi!   

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