Ladies’ kite club, where passion meets a soaring business (Feature)

January 28th, 2010 - 11:35 am ICT by IANS  

By Azera Rahman
Mysore, Jan 28 (IANS) You have heard of ladies’ clubs, but a ladies’ kite club? Kite flying may not be one of the usual hobbies that you hear women take to, but here in Mysore, 10 women who love the sport have come together to form this unique club of women-only kite flyers.

Chopping vegetables, taking care of her family and tending to the household chores like any other homemaker would, there is nothing that seems out of the ordinary about Kavita Bylokenda - one of the members of the club - at the first instance.

Hand her a kite, and she metamorphoses into a different person.

“Kite-flying is a tradition and I have always loved flying kites. Nothing beats the feeling of steering a kite and watching as it soars high,” Bylokenda told IANS with the thrill of a child.

A 40-year-old homemaker, Bylokenda said that kite flying for her is a passion which she pursues with the other members of the club whenever they get time.

“This club happened quite by chance, five years back. As a child I used to often fly kites, but with age it started feeling odd - with no company from anyone of my kind. Then I met another woman in my neighbourhood who was facing a similar predicament,” Bylokenda told IANS.

“That’s when the idea of a club for women like us struck. We spread the word and although there were just a handful of us, it was nevertheless a big success for us - we met every weekend and whenever we had the time in between to pursue our hobby,” she said.

The club now has 10 members and includes students, professionals and homemakers - all in the age group 20-40.

“With time we started making our own kites. We designed them in the shape of a girl’s dress, a shirt, even a gas cylinder! It caught others’ fancy and we started getting bulk orders to make kites,” Bylokenda said.

From just 10-20 kites for a family party to 300-500 on festive occasions and school fairs, the fledgling kite making business took wing.

“Our kites are priced according to the design, shape and size. A large gas cylinder shaped kite for instance costs Rs.25. The orders pour during the festive season like Dussehra and when the Karnataka and the Mysore kite festivals happen. At other times, we get orders from schools or for family occasions,” she said.

At times when there are too many orders to handle too quickly, the women make the design and then source out the making of the kites to others.

“We make a decent profit of about 30 percent, but we are no professional businesswomen. All the orders that we get are thanks to word of mouth advertisement. At the end of the day, the thrill of seeing a great response to our creations is what matters,” she said.

Amid the hustle-bustle of the growing business and their personal lives, the women take out time for pursuing their hobby - on a larger platform.

“For the last four years we have been regularly participating in the international kite festival in Gujarat. This year we made a three-dimensional, box-shaped kite for the festival. We also participate in the kite festivals in Karnataka,” Bylokenda said.

“The aim is not so much to win, but to participate and have fun. And we have our families supporting us in that - what else can we ask for?” she smiled.

(Azera Rahman can be contacted at azera.p@ians.in)

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