Some people call it Makar Sankranti or the Festival of Kites but in this part of the world it is fondly called Uttarayan. We Amdavadis hardly care about the significance of the day in terms of Hindu mythology, for us it is a day of War and there are warriors of each age group occupying the terraces from morning to late night and that too for two long days.
Uttarayan is a day of merry making with family and friends in the company of Patang, Undhiyu, Jalebi, Chikki, Lilva Ni Kachori (small balls stuffed with beans) and loads of fun.
The pols of Ahmedabad have a totally vibrant culture of Uttarayan. The planning, preparations and eagerness for the festival of kites makes it a different experience altogether.
Once Diwali ends, old Ahmedabad city gears up for Uttarayan in a traditional way. Manja is prepared, kites are specially customized, safety tapes and sunglasses are ordered in advance, paper tukkals and electric tukkals are on the top priority list and special huge white Dhaals (a huge patang which is used to fly tukkals) are stocked for the D-Day actually the night of Uttarayan.
People from western Ahmedabad who migrated decades ago returns to this part of the city especially for uttarayan with their friends and family. Many families invite their relatives from different cities to Ahmedabad. Foreigners too, have the curiosity and excitement to attend the Uttarayan of Ahmedabad.
Amdavadis love the preparations of this festival more than the festival itself. It also includes cleaning the terrace for the special day. Amdavadis hover around the patang centres for last minute shopping of Patangs and firkis along with tapes. Some lazy amdavadis buys readymade patang with kinya from the street kids which collect kites from the ending of December itself. Doing all this is great fun and sometimes nostalgic too.
On the eve of Uttarayan, many a times it happens that there is no wind which helps flying kites easily which is a major turn off for the city. But Amdavadis make the most of that time in playing cricket, eating new delicacies, enjoying the crackers so nothing can stop an Amdavadi on this very day.
For an Amdavadi, sometimes the patang which he catches is more important than the ones he bought, specially kids love doing this and they don’t even stop after their parents’ constant nagging. I loved being a kid.
Many movies and songs are being made which has a special mention of this festival. Any movie made in Ahmedabad has to have an Uttarayan scene to make it a sure shot hit. Patang a critically acclaimed movie based in Ahmedabad, Kai Po Che based on Chetan Bhagat’s “3 Mistakes of My Life” and the recently popular first urban Gujarati film “Kevi Rite Jaish” are some prime examples.
Uttarayan is merely seventy hours away and Amdavadis await yet another rocking Uttarayan this year.