Kite Flying in India Q & A – Part Four: What About Crime

KAP Jasa – kite team Slovenia has been a part of the International Kite Festival Gujarat 2024 for the fourth time now (check out our reports from 2023!), but our adventures in India did not end there. Half of the team went to the beaches of Goa to get some well-deserved rest, and then went on to the heart of Karnataka, flying kites in kite festivals of Belagavi, Nipani, and Hubbali. As we get a lot of questions about a lot of stuff that happened (or may have happened, or did not happen at all), we compiled them in this multi-part Q&A session (Part One is here, Part Two here, and Part Three here). Enjoy!

Dear KAP Jasa team!

You talk about sprawling cities, shady bars, huge crowds, and strange villages. Isn’t it … dangerous there?

In concern for you,
Mrs. A. Doyle, Port Moresby

Dear Mrs. Doyle!

What can we say … Is it dangerous to fly kites in India? Yes – and no.

(Excluding the obvious, inherent dangers of kite festivals: line cuts, twisted ankles, broken arms (hi, Kiriti!), and having immense fun.)

Let us try to explain …

“We run.”

Future husband of Lana Turner, when asked what they do when a pack of dogs ambush them.

We encountered this warning sign at a rest stop in the middle of the Western Ghats, on the road from Goa to Belagavi, and tigers do roam there. However, the purpose of this sign is to focus your mind on terrible – and absent – tigers, while sneaky monkeys rob you of everything from bananas to smartphones and wallets. A huge conspiracy it is, bloody inter-species organized crime!

Innocent my ass …

We – that is, the lawyers in our team – discussed the dangers of unlawfulness on one of the best roofs in Old Ahmedabad, the home of the Prosecutor General of Gujarat, while millions of patangs, little fighter kites, danced in the sky all around.

Millions of kites fill the sky above Ahmedabad

It was the most magnificent holiday, Uttarayan (or Makar Sankranti), and the roofs of Old Ahmedabad (a UNESCO World Heritage site, mind you) were full of people fighting with their patangs on sharp manjha lines … The show is one of the most incredible ones on the planet, believe us.

Kai Po Che!

And we were on that roof discussing crime.

“What crime do you prosecute the most?”
“Alcohol smugglers!”

A prosecutor and a criminal lawyer – mortal enemies!- discussing the subtle differences between Indian and Slovenian law

See, Gujarat is a dry state. Getting something to drink is extremely complicated if you don’t live in Gujarat, and pretty much impossible if you do. The good thing is that the rate of the usual alcohol-related law-breaking activities – traffic accidents, drunken brawls, domestic violence, and worse stuff groups of young men engage in while inebriated – are much lower in Gujarat compared to non-dry states of India. The bad thing is the police and the prosecutors have to deal with endless prohibition breaking, catching smugglers and public drinkers – and even private drinkers.

“You know what’s the biggest problem of drinking at home?” asked the lady of the house while pouring a glass of supreme Indian whiskey after a fantastic dinner she prepared for us.
“Getting rid of the bottles! If you put them in the trash, some eager passer-by might see them and call the police! So we must be very very careful when disposing of the incriminating evidence …”

Foreigners can get alcohol in Gujarat, but it takes money and time. A lot of time. And one is limited to buying one bottle of strong liquor, or two bottles of wine, or thirteen (yes, thirteen – we have no idea why) cans of beer per week. And the process of buying alcohol is … complicated.

Only getting an Indian SIM card is more complicated – right, Kosta and Marcin? 😉

But, truth be told, because of this harsh regime Gujarat is one of the safest states in India. A couple of ladies told us they are not afraid of walking around Ahmedabad at night – while there are places in India they would not dare to wander even during the day!

Dangerous nights of Ahmedabad

We mentioned that after the IKF Gujarat ended, half of our team went on to Belagavi international kite festival in Karnataka. But since that festival was scheduled to begin a couple of days after the closure of the one in Gujarat, and because the organizers wanted us to rest after tough days of kite flying, they sent us to recuperate on the sandy beaches of Goa.

Which was, of course, above and beyond all expectations.


If the first impression of Goa was a bit bizarre – look at the airport art above, plus they lost our kites (got them the next day, all was cool) – the second was … Well, look:

However, Goa is not a dry state – and don’t be fooled by all this beauty, the thatched roofs, the friendly locals, the easy-going atmosphere, Kingfishers, and the enchanting whispers of the Indian ocean. We were, and that led to our only encounter with crime.

“What do you get if you put ten kite flyers in one place?”
“A kite festival.”

The long sandy beach of Calangute looks pretty much like taken directly out of a kite flyer’s dream. The soft warm sand goes on forever, and the wind is strong – too strong for lame swimmers (they put up a red flag a couple of times), but not for the intrepid bunch of kiters.

So it was no surprise that Cisca and Peter showed up for breakfast at the Maggie’s Resort carrying bags full of kites.

“There is wind today!”

Even Kosta could only murmur “I’m in paradise, I’m in paradise!” before he ran after Varun, a whole bunch of stunt and sport kites dangling from his tall frame.

We are no crazy stunt kite flyers; as self-respecting single liners we took it easy and after yet another tea strolled down to the best beach bar (i.e., the first we found), spotted some boats on the sand (St Pedro, Sant Anthon, and Melita Regina Fernandes; Goa was a Portuguese colony, and it still shows) that were perfect for anchors, and promptly shocked and awed the tourists.

Aji guarding our kites, because of a mixup that took him to Goa and his kites to Belagavi

With Aji guarding the kites we could safely go for a beer.

That beer was earned, because a smart man named Neville Proenca, owner of the Pousada by the Beach restaurant, saw the kites wreaking havoc upon the beach, and invited us to his upscale place to … well, have a beer. On him, of course, for he immediately realised that kites are a crowd magnet, and that after an hour of staring at the aerial show the crowd will get thirsty and hungry, and his restaurant is right there.

(To be honest, he told us another, better reason for the invite: kites are beautiful, and beauty must be acknowledged.)

When we came back to the beach, Aji was in a heated discussion with an angry local. This was completely unexpected, because Goans are relaxed, nice, and cool, so we really wanted to know the reason for this uncanny anger.

It turned out we did a crime.

We tied our kites to privately owned boats without permission, thus wilfully and knowingly endangered said boats. Our defense that we did not know that it was forbidden to tie a kite to a boat was promptly thrown out, as we couldn’t be relieved of the consequences of the act by lack of knowledge, for we acted with reckless disregard which showed that we were consciously avoiding learning the facts – and are therefore guilty.

We untied the kites from the boats – and the request for monetary compensation was withdrawn.

One (and probably the only) relatively positive remnant of the British empire is that every country whose independence day was provided by the British, has a nice, locally produced, non-pretentious beer. Thus India has Kingfisher, a nice lager.

Photo courtesy of P. Theunissen

The problem with Kingfisher is that it is an emo beer. Can’t really stand being alone, so you get him another for company. The problem with beach bars in Goa is that you leave one and you inadvertently enter the next, as the whole beach is basically one long row of bars.

Photo courtesy of P. Theunissen

And after genuinely trying to leave the beach and the Kingfishers (and more seaworthy drinks like rum) for hours, the night fell.

That’s where we encountered the dogs of Goa.

Like the terrible Pinky.

Terrible, because she wouldn’t stop asking for schriches …

And as we were lulled into a false sense of security – it was one of those utterly pleasant nights that just go on and on – and our sharp instincts were dulled, Gregor became a victim of a crime.

The moment of crime caught on CCTV – the quality is bad, but both the victim and the perpetrator are clearly visible

The night was deep, the moon was high, the stars were shining (we were even convincing ourselves that those stars there just above the horizon are the Southern cross), and the Indian ocean was murmuring seductively.

Despite all warnings Gregor fell for the siren song of the warm ocean, stood up, walked to it … and into it.

And he was promptly robbed of his flip flops!

The next day the brazen perpetrator pretended that nothing had happened …

When confronted forcefully, the ocean – as every hardened criminal – simply denied his wretched deeds and laughed in the face of the victim.

The police were worse.

“You want to report what‽”
“A crime – I was robbed! Viciously and brazenly!”
“Yes … and you say you were robbed by … the Indian ocean?”
“Yes! Look, it’s right there! Arrest it!”
“I don’t think he is about to run away, sir.”
“I want to press charges! The flip flops, the damages to my feet and to my pride … I can’t let this slide! Arrest the wet bastard!”
“Lower your voice, sir, please.”

The chief of the police was even more indifferent.

“You say the Indian ocean robbed you?”
“But that’s not the Indian ocean – that’s the Arabian sea. As this sea has nothing to do with India, we can’t help you. Case closed., the plaintiff is advised to air his grievances in the appropriate jurisdiction.”

The case is now pending in the UN Court, as the Arab states also deny jurisdiction, claiming the said criminal body of water is the Indian ocean, as the Arabian sea stretches south only to the Kathiawar peninsula in Gujarat. Hundreds of maritime experts and high sea lawyers are now on it.

The flip flops in question were never found.

The criminal still laughs in the face of justice.

The victim of this horrible crime is still pissed.

So, Mrs. Doyle – is it dangerous in India? Yes.

And no.

That said, Indians are a bunch of thieves. Jamshed and the Turners, Uttej, Soummya and Prisha, Varun and his family, Hardik and his family, Shahir and Ali, Bhaban, Kabir and Jass, Sankhet and Mahipal, Mahesh and Lakesh and Rajesh and Nitesh and Dharmesh and Sandesh and Dipen and Kiriti and everyone else – they will steal your heart the moment you are not looking.

They did that to us ….

Bye bye, heart – it’s stolen, gone, lost forever in India

That’s why we keep coming back! 😉

2 thoughts on “Kite Flying in India Q & A – Part Four: What About Crime”

  1. Hi Kap jasa.
    It was very nice ro méat all of différence countries kite flying.
    And Love Gujarat kite festival 2024
    Hope we see us again.


Leave a comment