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Thursday, January 3, 2013

flying Kathadi ~ banning manja - flying of kite itself


In 1985, a claim for a two wheeler badly damaged in an accident was reported ~ it had not collided with any other vehicle, not hit any fixed installation – how did fell and how was it damaged were the Qs !!

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 frequently used with the pastime known as ‘kathadi’ – ‘flying kites’.  Bunches of youth would be seen atop every household – flying the ones with tail were considered not so adventurous.  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 as the kite would fly farther  – 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 bigger fellas ‘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.  It was touted as rocket science ~ so much of theories abound – the kite is first connected with a small thread – a science formulae there – first two small holes on top portion where the two sticks one straight and the other one curved meet – the other down towards the end of the straight stick – in precise formation, a knot is made, somewhat inclined towards the top – to this gets attached the bundle; bigger the size, the better, a little bit tough manage though……… the kite goes up, left, right, up and straight……… all around start enjoying as one releases the thread more – the kites with tail are considered kid’s stuff.

Sad another life was lost in a strange accident – kite thread cutting his life…  Times View suggests ‘Kite flying as a pastime need not be banned, but it's time we dealt with the 'maanja' as a weapon in the hands of unauthorised persons.’

The report mentions that 33 year-old K Jayakanth was on his way to his mother-in-law's residence in Pulianthope on Monday evening to collect an album with photographs from his daughter's first birthday party. He never got to see the pictures. He was crossing a bridge on Pallavan Salai, with his wife Mala and their daughter Sanjana riding pillion on his motorcycle, when a stray line of 'maanja' slit his throat. He was rushed to a hospital nearby but died minutes later. It was not the end that the family expected on a day for which they had made special plans. Jayakanth had  joined TCS as an office boy 10 years ago and had risen to the post of head librarian.  The thread has cut short his and his family’s hopes – placing a big ? mark on the future of the family. Sad indeed. 

The thread that flies the kite is called ‘maanja’ ~ the  very word sends shivers down the spines of bikers in Chennai.  This again is manufactured ! with skill ~ this bundled thread is a coated one, a coating of glass powder, colour, vajram [the adhesive] and more, put in a earthen pot, boiled and in the potion, the bundle of thread is put – when the kite keeps height and goes farther, the thread gets released, thereby smearing the magical potion spreading and getting applied evenly – the thread is now strengthened with the maanja coating – powerful enough to cut the thread of other kites, may be the wings of birds that come in the way, the hands of those flying and sadly sometimes the neck of those on road….

The recent killing sure was not the first of its kind….. such things do get reported in paper, perhaps not many care to read them even…  The answer to the first para, was the rider was injured in an accident involving the thread of kathadi [kite].  When met, the person had deep cut on the neck, injuries on the hand, leg and more… he narrated that when driving his newly bought at a normal speed, suddenly he felt somebody pulling him out ~ the pain was unbearable, he could realize a deep cut on the neck and something running on his face, he was immediately pulled to the road, vehicle ran uncontrolled, fell… all because, the  thread of the kite had come in the way. 

Tamil tinseldom hails everything and has place for kathadi too…. ‘Baana Kathadi’ was a romance film in which the son of  actor Murali ~ Adharvaa made his debut.   The storyline was that of an youngster who in his rush to grab hold of a falling kite, bumps into heroine,a fashion technology student. In the process, her pendrive falls into his pocket, without either of them realising. The pendrive consists of six months worth of her project work, and she needed to submit it.

Flying kite may have been entertaining for the film buffs –  in olden Chennai, where you had place on housetops, when roads were with less traffic, kite flying was fun – a game, no longer when there is no space in the city and when it poses grave danger to people on road. Even in those days, kids used to jump from one terrace to another trying to grab the thread of the kite that had been cut……….  When flying people used to move behind without caring to know how the terrace was………. 4 decades ago, at Triplicane – Peyalwar Street, atop bommai chathiram, an young boy who was perhaps of 13 years of age, fell from the top, while moving backwards – fell to death with head injury and it was ghastly.

It is no longer a game, a thing capable of  endangering human life is very bad and it is time, it is stopped totally.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
3rd Jan 2013.

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