The World Kite, for peace and brotherhood, which is being flown in different countries, has now reached India. The Aluva-based kiter Rajesh Nair has been given the responsibility
Photos: Rajesh Nair with the World kite; with his other kites.
By Shevlin Sebastian
Rajesh Nair has a look of pride as he takes out a kite from his rucksack. It is white in colour. The kite is made of a nylon fabric called ripstop. “It is used in the making of parachutes, and does not tear easily,” says Rajesh. “Ripstop is used extensively in the kiting community.”
Interestingly, the kite has no sticks in it. “This is an inflatable kite,” says Rajesh. “So when there is a wind, you allow the kite to float in the air. On the ground, whoever is holding the string, he can fly it effortlessly, and seamlessly, without any problem, whether there is a light or heavy wind.”
This kite is known as the World Kite. In 2004, Sharon Masto of Canada and Rod Milburn of USA made this 2 ½ feet high kite. “The aim was to spread the qualities of peace, fellowship, friendship and brotherhood,” says Rajesh.
Ever since, the kite has been flown in different countries like the US, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands. On the white background, kiters of these countries have put their signatures and drawings.
And now the kite has come to India. This happened when Rajesh went to take part in the 13th Borneo International Kite Festival this month. While there, he met up with long-time participant Andy Taylor from the UK. Andy said, “Rajesh, I am giving the World Kite to you to fly it in India.”
The Aluva-based Rajesh smiles and says, “When Andy gave the kite to me, I felt greatly honoured.”
And he has numerous plans. Immediately, he will be flying it on a beach near Kochi in the presence of many schoolchildren. Thereafter, it will be flown at upcoming kite festivals at Ahmedabad, Puducherry, Panjim and Belgaum. In January, Rajesh is planning to take part in the Dubai International Kite Festival, as well as take part in an event in China.
Meanwhile, Andy had told him that after he had finished flying it in India, he should select another kiter and give it to him. “But he should be a serious kiter and be willing to spread the message,” said Andy.
Since the World Kite has not been flown in China, Rajesh is thinking about giving it to a Chinese kiter. Or it could be somebody from Denmark or Poland, where the kite has also not been flown. After flying in the maximum number of countries the kite will be housed permanently in the World Kite Museum at Long Beach, Washington, USA.
The joys of flying
Not many people know that flying is not an easy thing to do. Since the kite is made of cloth, the wind does not pass through. “Therefore, depending on the wind, the kite could weigh between 150 and 300 kgs in the air,” says Rajesh. “The most comfortable wind speed is 10 to 15 kms per hour.” Surprisingly, on the ground, when the kite is folded, it can be placed inside a suitcase, and weigh only three kilos.
To make the kites, Rajesh works nights and, on the weekends, following his day-job as a consultant on corporate social responsibility for many companies.
Not surprisingly, his enduring love for kites began in his childhood, at Kozhikode. His father taught him how to make his first kite. And, thereafter, his obsession deepened.
“When you fly kites, you experience a sense of freedom,” says Rajesh. “It seems as if I am also flying in the sky along with my kite.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode)