The kite-runners – II

This is the 2nd part of my previous blog ‘Kite runners-I’ – pls click the link below.

As usual, the next part is in our home town. Along with other sports[?!], [ Goli [ heard of “oorgaa bendha” ?!:) ] , Tops, Gilli [ for every sport I know the village term too – pullu koti or kitti pul ], Mudhugu puncture, cycle race, Thirudan police, exam pad cricket, book cricket – what a decent of games [ Kallaa mannaa aadinadhu therinjaa maanam povum ha..ha ]. We [ me and my cousin ] used to make and fly kites on our own, as our hometown don’t sell kites. [ Idhellaam oru ooraa ]. So we decided to make our own. All we needed were a good English paper [ ChettyKulam bus stop Bhai helps us for this ], sticks, few rice flakes. The tough part is always making the ‘Susthiram’ [ Artha saasthiram maadiri Kaudilyar artha soosthiramnum oru book ezhudhi irukalaam :)].We used to collect the thread from the neibhorhood hand-woven mat looms [ ippellaam power loom ]. The loom workers gave it freely as our entire home town is a small scale industry of making hand-woven mats [ Aranmanai Kili song ‘Raasaave unnai vida maaten’ song has got a shot of heroine weaving a grass mat]. The string ball has to be formed with a crushed paper in round form. A knot is very important to a string ball. [ Indha knot-i pinnaala use pannuvom ].

Making the kite works out more like the art and craft lesson in POGO channel with Rob. But with not the complicated n costly gadgets that Rob uses – Camlin or Reynolds products. We make a square paper, fix one stick in the diagonal part and the other like a bow the other two diagonals. The glue was some cooked rice. It needs some time to dry in the sunlight and get flattened. To make it flat, we cover it up with another set of paper and keep it under the piles of suitcases [ everyone at home had their own suitcases]. Then comes the Susthiram part.

Artha soosthiram : We calculate it with the height from the top with four fingers and from the bottom, it is 8 fingers. We need to make a knot and hang/balance the kite [ Idhu ellaame uthesamaa dhaan seivom ]. The kite is ready. The string contains few knots as the mat thread doesn’t come as continuous. the tail is made up of again some pieces of news paper.

One fine day, We made one of our best Kaathaadis and flew all the way close to the telephone tower. We never knew we could make that happen. Out of curiosity, we extended the thread till the final end was reached. It was held by me in the first hand and my cousin got the second for a safety [ DR site engineeru avaru ]. We missed the important knot to be made in the stringball [ Knot sonnomla 🙂 ]. Close.. In front of us, we lost our glorious kite which was made near perfect. It flew away very fast and crossed the temple nearby. We couldn’t climb the temple wall and chase. [ Inneram school groundai dhaandi irukum.. vudraa]. That was the best of kathaadi days. But we weren’t sad because the life of our hand made kathaadi is very less [ just a day ]. We never worried and just got into the next sport fluidly [ Srinivasa-la ennada padam ? ].

One sub-plot is about our ‘goli’ games. The types are : regular, soda, dama [ big ones ]. Dama golis were used for the game ‘Lock’ played by seniors, mostly [ un pakkamaa.. en pakkamaa ]. We played the simple raja game to oorkaa bEndhaa [ Bayapadadhinga ]. The UB game is slightly a lengthy one and the guy who is lost will be asked to run the goli with his folded fist [ idhuku thamizh per sonnaa enaku adi vizhum.. venaam]. I was good in playing golis – I used to earn [?! ] many marbles from ‘goli mela’ games. [ bet katradhu – film melayum aadalaam – match box label melayum velladalaam ha..ha..]. My father used to throw the golis back to street [ kashtappatu sambarichadhu ! ]. One more trivia is that Pondicherry still has the tradition of playing Boules [ or bowls ] – a game with iron balls learnt from French people. Do u know ‘Pentanque’ – the French game ?

Try observing the lyrics of Lajjavadhiye and Veyilodu velayadi songs. Na.Muthukumar has extracted the best of childhood n village games.

After coming back to Chennai, I started visiting beach [ Ungaluku vere edame kedaikaadhe ! ]. The best part of Marina beach now is they sell kites for just Rs.10/- . Leave about the price. The happiness, I felt was priceless. My family still wonders why I buy a separate kite for me and fly the same, smilingly.



  1. I used to buy the sheets from amijikarai tollgate and thana street in purasaiwalkam. Homemade kathadi our kai vantha kalai….

    Manja podrathu is a ritual more ritualistic than Deepavali, pongal or saraswathi pooja…..meaning preparations and list of items to be purchased used to be with some seniors….In Purasai days, I have collaborated with some neighbours when they have manja thiruvizha and get it done.

    Going to school next day with palm smeared with pink color used to be a thrill by itself…If you have a couple of cuts in your index finger you are almost an hero….

    I am the one who will rotate the "Lottayi" when the manja is completed….I can write endless with my kathadi days…..

    My neighbours complained about me jumping terraced to catcha deal kathadi(a kite which got cut in a competition….called deal)….My dad annaiku yennakku susthiram pottu matti vitutaru….

    Couple of years later My Uncle had a near death experience when a manja nool slit his throat in 100feet road…He drove to vijaya gospital and got several stitches and doctors say that it was miraculous escape for him….

    After college…no kathadi….

  2. Thanks n Super Kathir. Interesting to know another 'Maanjaakaaran's experience – that too from Aminjikarai :). Thanks for recollecting the word 'Lottayi' – I was googling for the same 🙂

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