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Tales of love and reunion at a kite fest

Thursday January 13, 2011 04:13:53 PM, Madhulika Sonkar, IANS

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Ahmedabad: Love soars like kites. And sure enough, tales of friendship and sweet reunion fill the air as kite flyers from across the world mingle at the 21st International Kite Festival in Gujarat's principal city.

For 29-year-old Sorotti Damaris of Spain, travelling with her husband to the festival is the best way to "express her love and care" for him as the two pursue their passion for kite-flying together.

"My husband is a kite flyer and kite-flying is his first love. Coming to the Gujarat festival is my way of sharing my love for him. It has made me understand him better," Damaris, who learnt the art after marriage, told IANS.

The festival, with participation from 37 countries and eight Indian states, takes place between Jan 11 and 14 in three different regions of Gujarat.

A friend who wants to understand the intricacies of expressing emotions through kite flying also accompanies the Damaris couple on their third visit to Ahmedabad.

"I am a music lover; so I have come to this festival with acrobat kites. They fly in the air on synchronised rhythm just like synchronised-acrobat sport," said Spanish team member Helena Molinero, 30, accompanying her friend Sorotti Damaris.

"It is a way to evoke feelings of joy that come only when you see the kite dancing high in the sky," said Molinero in a mix of Spanish and English with hand gestures.

The saga of friendship doesn't end here.

Two old friends located time zones away from each other meet every year at the kite festival. They are Raymon Degraaf from the Netherlands and Greg Mountjay from South Africa who met in an Indian Railways bogie eight years ago on their way to the international kite festival in 2003.

The friendship grew stronger and the two friends reunite once again at the 21st edition of the festival. "Degraaf and I make sure that we meet every year at this festival. The charm of Gujarat and kites manage to bring us together," Mountjay quipped.

Tales of friendship abound, say tourism authorities.

"This year, we have it at three different venues -- Rann of Kutch, Ahmedabad and the Mandwi beach," said Farooque Pathan, tourist officer with Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL).

"The teams will be the same, but the regional participation by people of the city will change accordingly," he added.

"During this festival, we have also seen marriages happening, inter-country relations changing and bonds growing stronger," added Pathan, who has been guiding the tourists and kite flyers at the festival for the last eight years.

(Madhulika Sonkar can be contacted at





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