Ruskin Bond

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In "The Kite Maker," how does Mehmood make a kite for the Nawabs?

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In "The Kite Maker," Mehmood fulfills the Nawab’s request by making a fantastic dragon kite. He made the body of numerous paper discs on a bamboo frame. The disc in the front had a painted face and eyes made of mirrors. After it flies away, he makes the Nawab another, musical kite that makes violin-like sounds.

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Ruskin Bond’s story “The Kite Maker” tells of an elderly kite maker, Mehmood, who had once enjoyed great fame making unique, varied kites. When the Nawab or chief of the village requested a kite, Mehmood made one that resembled a serpent; the uncanny resemblance led to the villagers’ naming it the “Dragon Kite.” It was very tricky to fly, however, and got away from Mehmood on its very first flight. Rather than attempt to duplicate it, he made a different kind of kite for the Nawab. The new kite had musical properties, making sounds like those from a violin when it was flown.

The structure of the Dragon Kite created a snake-like form that enabled it to move sinuously when flown. Mehmood used a basic framework of thin bamboo sticks. Along them he set a series of very thin discs made of paper. To keep them all in balance, he added a sprig of grass on opposite sides of each disc. The discs’ size decreased from head to tail. Their size, arrangement, and large number gave the kite tremendous flexibility. The resemblance to a dragon was completed by the face, which was the large disc in the front. Mehmood painted on facial features and affixed eyes made of mirrors. Others called them “devil eyes” and claimed it had supernatural powers.

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