Basant and spring, a heady combinationArchive
KARACHI: Despite basant and particularly kite-flying becoming a much polarised and politicised yearly event, the seasonal festival celebrations at the DA Country & Golf Club on Sunday saw family and friends gather together to celebrate the Basant & Spring Gala 2016 amid much fanfare.
On arrival, a large crowd was already present outside the premises pleading with the authorities to allow them entry despite tickets being sold out. However, the management made security a priority and only club members and people with tickets were admitted as part of the celebrations.
The festivities were as much an ode to the basant festival as they were in celebration of spring in Karachi which vanishes as quickly as it comes knocking and the Karachi weather was as its best.
The gala was designed in a way to make basant celebrations safer for people. The organisers had provided kite string that was safe to handle and would not result in serious injuries. However, midway into the celebrations some attendees smuggled in manjha and were using it to fly their kites. Thankfully, the management was quick to respond and announcements were promptly made to stop its use, and organisers were constantly on the lookout to prevent injuries from happening.
A fancy dress competition was also arranged, as well as a singing and cooking competitions all to appease sponsors. There were a variety of food stalls, but the longest line could be found on the one selling pakoras, piping hot off the stove. Children and adults alike waited patiently to sample them, and eventually settled on the grass, huddled together and enjoyed a brief picnic, before heading to the next food stall, or taking part in different activities for children.
There were also several stalls solely dedicated for women to shop around at. From ajrak suits, home-made jewellery as well as mehendi stalls, there was enough variety to keep families busy throughout the day.
One of the things that the management should have considered was to assign a separate area for kite flyers. There was no escaping either the string, or young children running around trying to fly their kites. As a result some tumbled onto the lawn, got a few scrapes, and generally were frustrated by the lack of walking space to enjoy the event.
The Basant & Spring Gala 2016 saw families step away from their usual routines and spend time together. The event was immortalised in the minds of those children in particular who were taught the tricks of flying kites by their fathers. The smiles on their faces, and the excitement in their eyes, made the overcrowded event a success for them.
Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2016