Nanao’s Telangga, Nanao’s Kite in meiteilon (Manipuri). I drew this painting remembering my little brother’s love for flying kites in Manipur.
He loved flying kites as a kid. He was one of the best in our leikai (community) and known for his excellent skills for cutting other’s kite. He was very possessive of his kites and it was on very rare occasion that he would let me fly. I enjoyed watching the cutting kites and the excitement, running behind the falling kite once the thread was cut. At times we were lucky coming back with the trophy kite, other times it was stuck on a high tree but was contented that at least he won in cutting. Of course then there were times our kite got cut.
One sunny afternoon he agreed that he will let me fly his kite if I assist him in making his thread strong and sharp so that he can cut other kites. We were busy grounding pieces of glasses, mixing with the heated flour paste in a tin and then applying on the thread. The thread was lined from tree to tree, making crossed designs blocking everyone to pass my father’s front yard. We waited for the first layer of application of the paste (“maan thaba” as he calls it) on the thread to dry up and then we will apply all over again. Once it was dried, it was starched and sharp. We had to handle it carefully while rolling the thread back, so that it wouldn’t hurt our fingers.
It was a wonderful evening flying kites with my little brother.
An acrylic painting by Monica Ingudam