Monday, March 29, 2010
That evening at dinner time between the clatter of plates and irritating lip smacking sounds from her uncles she put in another request, " Papa will you get me a latayee and guddi?". Could Papa refuse his German Wali so in between all the sounds into which was another one that of so many chuckles, the resident peon Heera ji was summoned. Papa then instructed, " Heera ji ! kal Sabjibagh se Munni ji ke liye ek accha latayee aur guddi la dijiyegaa" ( Heera ji ! tommorrow get a spool and kite from Sabjibagh for Munni ji ). Sabjibagh was this place in the city that had a wholesale dealing with kites and it's accessories. Heera ji looked at Munni ji with the most affectionate smile ever, nodded his head in an affirmative and uttered " Ji Sir! '' and left for the kitchen to join the others for dinner but his chuckles could be heard too. Papa now paused in his eating and gave another set of instructions. This time to one of the youngest Chacha (Uncle) sitting there " Phani tum kal jara Munni ko guddi bandhana aur udana sikha dena...gaon mein toh guddi champion toh Phania hi hai...'' ( Phani tomorrow teach Munni how to tie the kite and teach her how to fly it too...in the village Phania is the kite champion I suppose). Phani Chacha meanwhile all gloated and also a wee bit embarrassed by this sudden acclaim answered this time with an audible, "Haun Bhaiya" (Yes elder brother). Ok so Lakhanwa must be Lakhan, Munni thought as she finished the vermicelli pudding without a fuss. She hated Vermicelli pudding but today it tasted different not bad at all as she normally felt. That night after lots of hugs and kisses to the best Papa in the world she drifted to a deep slumber of colourful dreams. Dreams in which she could see the spinning spool and lots of brilliant kites. Dreams in which she saw herself running in a field of green with the colourful kite behind her.
So that particular day in the year of 77, geared with her kit and her skill Munni was all ready for what she now understood fully as ' payainch ladana '. Wiping the milk off with the sleeve of her blouse she set foot on the terrace and like a pro inspected the sky. A solitary one there as of now and it will be a piece of cake when she took it down, she promised herself. But just when that kite started stalking hers once again she had the same palpitation, the same fear. And before she could calm herself her spool felt very light in her sweaty hands. She now saw her kite sliding horizontally and gradually towards the earth and the tensile curve of the twine falling into a limp zig zag. She cried out loud '' Meri guddi kat gayee! Meri guddi kat gayee! Ma! Maaa!!" Tears hopelessly and shamelessly streaking her face and drops dripping from the tip of her sharp nose to the front of the blouse she ran towards the boundary wall of her terrace. Her eyes blinded by tears not wanting to leave the sight of her guddi which was no longer hers now. Still crying she looked down to see where her guddi had fallen so that she could retrieve it. Guess what she saw ? Outside the gates of Sujan Bhawan stood her HERO whom she had blissfully forgotten as she had forgotten the 26 inch machine that introduced them. Lakhanwa stood there, his one hand holding her guddi to his chest and the other flailing vigorously beckoning her to come down and get her guddi. Wiping her tears and ignoring her mother's questioning " Munni beta kya hua? Chot lag gayee? Ruk toh " she flew down the stairs and within minutes or rather seconds was face to face with Lakhan who was now neatly rolling the twine that came along with her guddi into a neat criss cross bundle with the help of his little finger and thumb.
If Phani Chacha deserves the credit for her kite flying lessons then Lakhan gets the award for fine coaching about the skills of the duel.
" Aapka guddi kat gaya kahe ki aapka dori Manjha nahin hai '' , said Lakhan, handing over her kite and the twine.( Your kite got cut because your twine was not treated )
''latayee de dijiye hum kal Manjha bana kar de denge", he again requested hesitatingly ( Give your spool to me I shall bring it back tomorrow after coating it ).
Munni was just happy to get her kite back and without much ado handed the spool to lakhan. After which he left and she came back inside and went straight to Heera ji to ask what Lakhan meant by Manjha.
Heera ji explained to her how the twine was made ready for the duel by coating it with powdered glass. This is prepared by making a home made gum of wheat flour into which is mixed powdered glass and the twine is passed all along through this mix as it gets coated. Quite a revelation it was when she learnt that in this process the palms mostly bled if one is not careful in handling the process. And the twine once ready could easily cut the finger too if one was careless.
The next day 4 post noon arrived after a long time. She stood near the gate and aimlessly strolled around as she anxiously waited for Lakhan. When it was 5 and still there was no sign of him she requested Heera ji to go and check at the place where he and his friends pump air into the bicycles. Heeraji returned with a very dissappointing '' Ou toh wahan haiye nahin aur uska saathi bolta hi ki ou toh aaj ayaa bhi nahin" ( He is not there and his friends are saying that today he has not come at all ). Mourning the loss of her spool and missing the sport she turned around to go inside the house when she heard a loud rap at the gate. Hopes rekindled she ran and pushed the gate open to see him standing there panting and gasping but holding her spool which looked full and more sturdy with that Manjha twine. The twine instead of being white looked pale pink in colour and it was neatly tied to a big new colourful kite.
Hurriedly he ranted off the final instructions after handing her the spool and the kite. "Jab doosarka guddi aapke guddi se bhid jayega aur ou apna dori khinchega tab aap DHEEL de dijiyega " (When that other kite intercepts yours and you feel his pull at that time let loose your twine) . She was too grateful to him for all his efforts and the extra. She repeated, " accha thik hai us samay DHEEL doongi " (Ok i shall let loose at that time). But she also wanted to do something more so she said, " Thank you! Lakhan so much ''. This time Heera ji interpreted it for him, '' Baby dhanbad de rahi hain " (Baby is giving you thank you). She was too excited with this timely help and transformation and too much in a hurry to get back her revenge that this time she did not wait to correct Heeraji, " Dhanbad nahin dhanyavaad " .( Correct pronunciation of the word thank you in Hindi). And de nahin kah rahi hain bolo ( not giving but saying thank you ).
photo courtesy: http://freefoto.com (solitary colourful kite against the deep blue sky).
Posted by shivani singh at 9:53 AM