Nagpur: Though it was cloudy throughout the day and even rained once or twice in the morning, kite lovers celebrated the annual kite-flying ritual with full enthusiasm and zeal on the Makar Sankranti day on Friday. The popular calls of ‘O kkaat and O ppaar’ kept on reverberating till late evening in many localities.
As the intermittent drizzle stopped in the second half of the day answering the prayers of many, kite lovers occupied open rooftops and terraces playing loud music and munching snacks to resume the fights for the ‘kite supremacy’. Kites kept on flying high in the skies till late afternoon.
“It was a disappointing start of the day. I thought all our preparations will be washed out. But, by afternoon, it was all okay,” said Nitin Gawande from Gopal Nagar. “We were flying kites till sunset. In Nagpur, it’s irresistible,” he added.
The Covid-19 threat is already there and many buildings, especially in South- West Nagpur, have some Covid patients. So, the residents had to keep their celebrations low key. “Our building has 2 Covid patients. They are in home isolation. Following all Covid protocols, we went to terrace and enjoyed kite flying. But, the celebration was not like the usual one. I hope, Covid’s end begins from Sankranti,” said Saisha Chaturvedi from Pratap Nagar.
However, people hardly followed Covid-appropriate behaviour in old city, which is famous for the kite flying festivities. It was a usual site in Mahal and Itwari in the afternoon. People gathered on the rooftops and not many were wearing mask. “Patang to udana ch padta na bhau!,” said Ballu Bhagwat, who lives in Nagoba Galli. “Already, the rain had spoiled the first half of the day. Now, we don’t want to waste another half. After all, we were preparing for this day for almost two weeks,” he added.
Apart from kite flying, the typical haldi-kunku ritual of married women began from Friday. “This year, it would be difficult to hold big gatherings and hence the haldi-kunku also will be low key. I am planning to invite friends in groups on different days,” said Shalaka Khare.
Til-gul, the inseparable sweet without which Makar Sankranti cannot be celebrated, was high in demand from almost a week before.
The day was celebrated as Lohri by Punjabis, Pongal by Tamilians, Uttarayan by Gujaratis and Marwadis, and Makaravilakku by Keralites. As Nagpur has decent population of all these communities, the festive spirit was high throughout the city on Friday.