Month: November 2012

kite fighting

Kite fighting is a sport, which traditionally uses unstable, single-line kites. Tension is used for control, while an abrasive line defends against other kites. The skins of fighter kites are often made from thin papers, the spars of light, flexible wood. When flown with a taut line, the wind pressure, paradoxically giving the kite stability, deforms it. With the line of tension reduced, the kite becomes unstable, rocking from side-to-side. Sometimes it begins to spin. By reapplying tension at the right moment, the kite increases in stability, shifts in direction, moving towards where the flyer desires. Kite fighting is perhaps an apt analogy to describe the structure and mobility of Indian families. The males of the extended family create an interwoven kite tapestry, becoming both a shield and a sail. The women form the spars holding the shape of the kite and keeping it together under pressure, while the children trail behind in the tails. The older generations hold the line taut, steering the family against external pressure in an advantageous direction for all. In …