Of kites, winds, and flying high
By Neel Anil Panicker
A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against the wind, not with the wind. John Neal, the great American writer and critic was not off the mark when he said this. History is peppered with more such rich tales of struggles and successes thereafter right from Christ and Mohammed and Buddha to Abraham Lincoln and Malcolm X and Winston Churchill___the last, the man who battled the wrath of Hitler and saw England through the tumultuous World War Two years. I am of the firm conviction that a person should welcome all manner of adversities in his life as they not only help build character and discipline but spur one to greater glories.
Take the case of the ongoing cricket series. What a match has it been. If India trumping the formidable Englishmen is a sweet enough pill, the icing on the cake, though some would add a nice little cherry to that as well, has been the sheer brilliance of our very own Virat Kohli, who incidentally notched up his third double century of the year.
Predictably, thereafter naysayers came in and the rather inconsequential English bowler James Anderson butted in with a particularly nasty comment that just about questioned Kohli’s achievement and alluded to “favourable pitches behind his success with the bat”.
While cricket aficionados would dismiss this unbecoming comment with the contempt it deserves and tell Anderson and his ilk to simply “go, fly a kite”, knowing Kohli as we do, it would be a safe bet to say that he would take this opposition in the right spirit and harness it to his advantage.
Moreover, now that the subject of kites has cropped up, it reminds me that in less than a month’s time the Equinox occurs in this part of the hemisphere and we will be celebrating Makar Sankranti, the festival that celebrates the Sun’s entry into the Equator, kicking off the long Indian summer season.
Though I have been a kite watcher and a player of some calibre almost all my life, it is only now in the past few years that I have looked at this joyous activity with fresh eyes, as something more than a cherished childhood pastime; as a great dispenser of some every elemental life lessons.
Harnessed to the Earth, the kite is symbolic of humility even as it soars up in the skies waiting patiently, expectantly rather, for the wind to cross its path and to ruffle its frail self. Unfazed by strident opposition, the kite holds on, steady as the Rock of Gibralter, unruffled by the twists and turns of its fellow beings (read enemies), to take off into the stratosphere, inviting awe and a fair amount of envious looks and odd barbs.
So, come 2018, in Lords, England when captain Kohli continues to send the red cherry racing to the boundary as he most certainly will, then he would need to thank a certain Anderson for stoking the fires of passion in him with his outlandishly offensive remarks. Yet another affirmation of the age old maxim that criticism and opposition are the best insurance against failure. So, if one wants to scale the heights of glory then the war cry should be ‘keep them coming, man’.