Chocolate and Gold Coins

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Kite Flying in India

I read an interesting post the other day from one of India’s most popular bloggers, Kiruba Shankar, about kite flying in India. It sounds like great fun:

I remember as kids, we would collect bottles, put them into a cloth bag, and mash it fine with stones. We would then mix it with glue and apply the glass paste (called 'Manja') on a special thread we'd get from the 'Master's Potti Kadai'.

The challenge is to cut the opponent Kite's thread (This duel is called 'Deal'). And when you do cut it, and if luck and winds are your side, you get to collect the opponent's Kite as trophy.

Sigh! Those were the good times. And all those memories came gushing back to me as I held the kite yesterday.

Children in India traditionally fly kites and play with tops. I have an Indian top and it is extremely challenging to use. The fun comes from developing the skill. These are wonderful examples of human capital in the production of leisure.

The only fun my son makes is in constructing Lego toys. When we buy toys for our children, we increase the GNP but we do not increase their skills. To paraphrase an old saying: “Buy a toy for a child and you bring joy for a day. Teach a child a fun skill and you bring joy for a whole childhood.”

I need to take him kite flying. I don’t know about the Manja though.


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