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Monday, April 2, 2012

Manja, kathadi and the death - Ban on kite-flying sought

Modern day children miss lot of things – if you are in your 40s or more – you might remember or recognize words like  “deal; base; sirunchakkiri; perunchakkiri; kandu; bana; patta patta, vajram” and more…. If you are wondering what these are – these were the words actively engaged with the pastime known as ‘kathadi’ – ‘flying kites’.  Bunches of youth would be seen atop every household – the ones with tail were considered not so adventurous.  The bigger ones ‘with the technology called suthram’  of tying the threads in such a manner that the kite surges ahead, wanders hither and thither, yet is controlled by the thread holding hand was considered a great art.  The art or science of making the thread stronger by adding glass pieces and more was practiced skillfully by some experts !!!!

One would try and create a loop to cross the path of the other kite – that was the deal (you had the technicalities such as base deal, upper one etc.,) – then thread would be released faster – in the friction between the threads of two kites, sure one would snap – and there was the site of the kite with cut thread slowly falling to disgrace, clapped and enjoyed by the victor. 

The plot of the film ‘Baana Kathadi’ was the hero in his mad rush to grab hold of a falling kite (which was sort of trophy for the capturer) bumps into a fashion technology student – the pen drive consisting of project work falls in to his pocket – they fight, friendship a la love develops……….    It was a movie written and directed by Badri Venkatesh in which .Adharvaa, son of Tamil actor Murali, made his  debut – it was  above average grosser but was a acclaimed film.

Flying kite may have been entertaining for the film buffs – Chennai city woke up to crude reality as a youth lost his life, slit by the manja thread of the kite near Nerkundram.  Sad indeed.    It is reported that a  28-year-old man died after a stray 'manja' kite thread slit his throat while riding a moped on Nerkundram High Road near Vanagaram on Sunday. Police said N Raj Kumar, a caterer from Arumbakkam , fell off the bike and died on the spot.  There have been similar incidents of people, especially motorists affected by the kite thread.

Now the matter has been taken to Court.  A Public Interest Writ petition has been filed seeking regulation of kite flying flying by identifying open spaces and playgrounds in the city.  A total ban on the sale of kites, manja thread and kite flying alone would be the solution to wipe out the 'kite menace', City Police Commissioner J K Tripathy said in his counter affidavit filed in the Madras High Court on Tuesday.  The First Bench comprising Chief Justice MY Eqbal and Justice TS Sivagnanam admitted the writ petition.

Those flying the kites, to make the thread stronger and have the cutting edge resorted to many techniques – one of which is preparation of a magic potion with many ingredients including adhesives for bonding, finely powdered glass pieces, colour and more – in which the ball of thread is put with flying kite in one end, the thread is released and would spread throughout its length.  After a few hours of drying, it becomes stiff and has the cutting edge – even during the process it could cut the fingers badly……

Three or more decades ago, kite playing was fun – a game, where the victor would rejoice cutting the other – one could gain that cut kite drifting into air and falling elsewhere.  Now actually, not many enjoy this game and the kites on the sky are stray and sparse.

Still an accident endangering human life is very bad and it is time, it is stopped totally.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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