The International Kite Festival or Uttarayan at Ahmedabad is a massive celebration that marks the change in season from winter to summer and welcomes the approaching harvest period for the farmers of the country in the form of Makar Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is a festival dedicated to the Sun God and essentially falls on every 14th January of the year. Kites are a significant highlight of this festival.
The International Kite Festival at Ahmedabad this year was celebrated from 8th January 2017 to 14th January 2017 with a vibrant inauguration, mesmerizing cultural shows, children performing Surya Namaskar on a large scale, plethora of lip-smacking local cuisine and a colossal participation from 32 countries including France, Estonia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Curacao, Switzerland, Italy et al.
8th January 2017 saw the inauguration of Uttarayan with a sky splattered in shades of vivacity with kites of every possible size, shape and character. Apart from the countries that participated in the event, there were various other Indian states such as Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan etc that proudly represented India and lighted up the sky with their creativity. Among the plethora of Indian participants who were eagerly displaying their talent and kite flying skills, I found this wonder woman, a remarkably impressive kite flyer who may have already attained her share of fame but is undeniably the most inspiring of the few creative wizards that I got a chance to interact with.
Mrs Bhavna Shailesh Mehta has many accolades to her name but for starters, she is India’s first Lady Kite Flier and has won many awards for her impeccable kite flying and making skills from the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi himself from the year 2009 to 2011. She is a professional artistic kite designer. She is India’s first Female Kite Exporter as well. She also runs a Kite Flying Club called Deep’s Kite Flying Club in Ahmedabad. It seems kite making and flying runs in her genes as she proudly talks about her daughter who has also won the Kite Flying Award in the year 2012.
Her kites are an eclectic mix of designs, patterns and themes. Her kites have a specific theme every year. These kites are all handpainted and her own designs. In the year 2008, her theme for kite making was an inspiration from the aquatic animals. Bhavana gleefully remarks that even though these animals are only meant to survive in the water her creativity gave them wings and let them fly up above the sky. In 2016 her themes for kites were the various Avatars of Hindu deities such as Narasimha, Vamana etc.
She has also promoted Ladakh tourism through her artistically defined kites. This year she boasts of a collection dedicated to the various spirits that we derive various kinds of energy from. She proudly displays her exquisitely designed Kundalini, Horse, Lion and Phoenix series of kites.
During the promotions of a blockbuster Bollywood movie ‘Jai Ho’, she also flew her kites with the Bollywood star Salman Khan and you can almost see her blushing at that. I could clearly see a fan in her eyes. Wait, not just that the kite that Salman Khan and Mr Narendra Modi had flown during that time was also crafted by Bhavna. So, all you Bhai Fans out there, envious much?
Her creative energy is infectious and the message that she remarkably conveys to youngsters is that no work in the world is small or big. Do what your heart desires and tap into your creative potential, don’t let it die.
I have always believed that travel experiences become memorable because of many reasons but for me, it’s the wonderful people I meet in every adventure that does the magic. These people somehow reinforce my faith in my decisions in life and inspire me to become a better human being every day. From Bhavna, I learnt that no matter what you aim for in life, we all have something that is unique to us, keep that alive and nurture it. Life is beyond safe options, life is what you actually make of it. Bhavna is creative, full of good vibes, very humble and a fun person to talk to. She beams with confidence and is an epitome of girl power. Lots of love to you Bhavna, you go girl!