Vijaya Dashami, Now Go Fly a Kite!

Today is the first day of the fifteen day holiday Dashain, one of the largest festivals of the year. It’s the day that jamara is planted, and when kids take fragile paper kites to the roof.

After Mamu’s morning puja in the prayer room at the top of the house she planted the family jamara seeds. She had explained last night that one of their neighbor’s used to work at the palace and would bring jamara back from the king, so for many years the family didn’t grow any, but they started again last year.

It has been busy in the house, with many people coming and going. Daddy has been busy handing out packets of invitations for visitors to take back to their section of the city and distribute out to people P’s family knows. Although the household is buzzing with activity, P and I have felt relatively lazy. We have been sitting around, chatting with visitors, sitting on the roof and watching all the activity in the neighborhood, and helping Daddy call and contact guests. This morning I helped Mamu chop onions, mushrooms and tomatoes for the noon time meal.

There has been a lot of rain, at least for a little while each day, but this morning was sunny and warm, while looking out the window P spotted several kites flying, and with a boyish enthusiasm declared that he wanted to fly kites as well. He started searching the house for spools of string and thin paper kites to take to the roof.

I remember a few years ago someone left a copy of The Kite Runner at our house, and P picked it up. He’s not usually a reader, I’ve teased him that he’s been reading the same Jarrod Diamond book for five years, but this book he quickly got into, putting it down every now and then to reminisce about flying kites in his own youth, fighting kites with neighborhood children from the roofs of other houses. Once the book transitioned from the main character living as a boy in Afghanistan and making and flying kites with his friend, to a young man living in America, P quickly lost interest and tossed it aside. He never did finished it.

So P dug through the cupboards until he found a spool of thick string and grinned, “this is very good string, from Lucknow.”  He was about to yell out to the man cutting the grass (by hand with a curved sickle knife) to ask if he could run to the market to buy some kites, but Daddy said there were some stacked above the suitcases in the bedroom. P reached up to grab them, and pulled them down, lifting a cloud of dust.

We went up to the roof, and found a spot between the drying laundry. P tied the string to the nicest looking kite and thrust it up into the air. There really wasn’t any wind, but P started pulling and twisting, sticking out his tongue and biting his lip with concentration. When the kite caught some air and lifted, P’s smile spread across his whole face, “I’ve still got it.”

P got the kite fairly high into the sky, and explained we could potentially fight with other kites that we saw floating above several other houses. He asked if I would like to try, and I took hold of the spool. I didn’t have it for more than thirty seconds before the kite started dropping and spinning out of control.

“What did I do wrong?” I asked, as P grabbed the kite back and tried to rescue it from its death spiral. “I tugged and pulled on the string like you did.”

“I guess it takes skill and practice.” P answered, a bit of pride shinning through his voice.

It took him a few moments to wind in the kite and get it under control, just as huge rain drops started to splatter on the roof indicating another shower was on its way.

P pulled in the kite, and I grabbed the others, and we helped to take the laundry in off the line before it was soaked.

Maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow.

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7 responses to “Vijaya Dashami, Now Go Fly a Kite!

  1. Pictures please!!!

  2. Hehe…what a great story! I love the little details…felt like I was there with you. Brightened my dissertation-filled day.

  3. If I am not wrong Dashin is nothing but Dassera right? If so then why is it 15 days festival? Das (or dash) means number Ten.
    FYI… In ancient time World seemed to be following Hindu Vedic calendar system. A whole year was divided into 10 months. Most of the months have been renamed over the time but last 4 months have retained Vedic names.

    (7) Saptam = September
    (8) Ashtam = October
    (9) Navam = November
    (10) Dasam = December

    • Dashain is related to Dassera, but I know Dashain is 15 days, so I don’t know why there is that difference…

      • it’s 10 days upto Dashami or Dashahara or what we call tika. Then we keep five more days open (ekadashi up until purnima) to visit relatives to receive tika.
        Viajya dashami ko shuvakamana!!

  4. Really sad that i am missing it again! You made it sound so lovely.

  5. @justlikethat
    There are 12 months in a hindu calender: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_calendar

    Cosmology is in a hindu’s blood. This is a summary of vedic cosmology.

    10 blinks of the eye = 1 Kashtha
    35 Kashthas = 1 Kala
    20 Kalas = 1 Muhurtta
    30 Muhurttas = 1 day (24 hours)
    30 days = 1 month
    6 months = 1 Ayana
    2 Ayanas = 1 year

    432000 years = Period of 4th yuga: kali (40%)
    864000 years = Period of 3rd yuga: dwapara (30%)
    1296000 years = Period of 2nd yuga: treta (20%)
    1728000 years = Period of 1st yuga: satya (10%)
    All 4 yugas = 4320000 years (43.20 million years)

    4320000 years = 1 Mahayuga (or 1 universe)
    71 Mahayuga’s = 1 Manu rule
    14 Manu rule = 1 Kalpa (4.32 billion years)

    1 kalpa = 1 day in the life of a brahma

    *At this point, Brahma rests(sleeps) for one night, just as long as the day (or 4.32 billion years). Hence, day+night for a brahma(our solar system) equals to 8.64 billion years.

    So in vedic cosmology, the life of our universe is 4.32 billion years. The next 4.32 billion years are spent in pause(brahma sleeps) after which the universe is created yet again. So a new universe is created every 8.64 billion years.

    100 brahma years = lifetime of 1 brahma (311 trillion, 40 billion years)
    A pause of another 311 trillion, 40 billion years(unmanifestation) is observed before another brahma is created

    In total, 50 brahmas has died in the past. This is the 51st brahma and it is his 1st day. Within this day, 27 mahayugas have elapsed. We are in the 28th mahayuga and the current year is 3893113. This means the first three yugas have ended. We are in the third yuga(kali). The current kaliyuga won’t end till another 426887 years. After that, earth will enter 29th mahayuga and thus will begin the satya yuga.

    Take the above and compare it with below and add a lot of salt
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_Life_Cycle.svg

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