Wednesday(13/1/2021) A Tourist in Mumbai :- Bombay now Mumbai is a city once divided into various segments based on communities and DONGRI is one such locale in the heart of South Mumbai. ⁸Believe it or not but in 52 years of my lifetime in Mumbai this was my first visit to “DONGRI LOCALITY” although i spent 7 years of my lifespan in nearby Byculla locality.”MAKAR SANKRANTI” is synonymous with kite flying all over India and DONGRI in Mumbai was World famous for producing the best kites and “Manja( Kite Thread)” in India. Rode the short 8 Kms distance in heavy traffic from my residence on Old Prabhadevi road to J.J. Hospital and at the first left turn on reaching the hospital road end headed left onto the street leading to Dongri. Absolutely congested with traffic and people and thankfully got my bearings right in discovering the “KITE SHOPS OF DONGRI”.The landmark ” MUGHAL MASJID(Masjid-E-Iranian)” built in the 1860’s situated on Imamwada road is the locale in which the kite shops are situated. Visited the “Dongri Kite Centre” ,first kite shop situated just next to the iconic masjid and was surprised to know that this was the oldest kite shop having been in business since 1942. Spoke to the owner Mr Mohammed. Malik. Ansari sitting at the main counter of this small unassuming shop. Different kites were on display inside the shop while a worker was busy producing ‘Kite Manja(Kite Thread )” on a “Phirki (Kite string bobpin roller)”. Memories of my childhood right upto 1975 rushed through my mind. As a kid i flew kites in Mombasa(Kenya) and later on migrating to Bombay continued my passion of kites during our residency in Byculla chawl culture . In 1975 we shifted to Old Prabhadevi road and that’s when my kite flying stopped as no one flew kites in the flat culture of our building. Is kite flying dying a slow death in Mumbai ? Yes. I personally feel so as even with binoculars i don’t see kites in the skies of the plush localities of Mumbai.Even in the remaining chawls of Mumbai it seems flying kites is no more the seasonal passion in the era of smart phones and Internet games. Change is Permanent ? From “Dongri Kite Centre” shop walked a few meters ahead and came across “Indian Fighter Kites” established in 1972. Identical to “Dongri Kite Centre” but slightly bigger .A little ahead from “Indian Fighter Kites” was the last kite shop on “Imamwada Road” , a total of only three kite shops on this road which explains the decline in the kite flying business. After a visit to the “KITE SHOPS” rode leisurely along the narrow road of Dongri passing alongside “St Joseph’s School” and later stopping at “Dongri Market”. As usual ended my short tour of “DONGRI” with a visit to the fish market where a giant fish was in the process of dissection for purchasers. Ahoy !
NOTE :- Below are photos of the Denpasar Kite festival of 2014 .Having travelled across 81 country’s at the time of writing here are memoirs of travelling across Indonesia in 2014. On Sunday(31/8/2014) during a day’s visit to Denpasar in Bali was at the right place at the right time and come across a KITE FESTIVAL COMPETITION with Kite aficionados flying giant sized kites . For the first time in my life got to hold the twine string of a 7 feet tall kite and feel the wind power on this giant kite.