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This age-old device is now fanning out

A.V. Ragunathan
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A breezeWith erratic power supply rendering electrical appliances useless at times, hand fans have found it very easy to penetrate the market in Cuddalore —Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy
A breezeWith erratic power supply rendering electrical appliances useless at times, hand fans have found it very easy to penetrate the market in Cuddalore —Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

The erratic power supply has almost made the electrical appliances, particularly all sorts of fans — ceiling, pedestal and table — redundant.

However, in the sweltering heat that extends well into the night, the hand fans made of palmirah leaf have come to hold a sway in Cuddalore. These simple and yet convenient devices would never become outdated, even in the era of modern gadgets such as the split air-conditioner and centralised air-conditioner.

The palmirah trees that are dotting the village landscape have at last come to have a profitable use, as their leaves could be transformed into colourful hand fans.

It requires little effort to cut the palmirah leaves, as they are naturally endowed with fan like features, and make them into hand fans. When dried, the palmirah leaf would have stiff appearance and it could even be sharp enough to cause bleeding injuries.

But once soaked in water, it would become soft enough to be bent to the required shape. Later, the fans would be dipped into dyes to give them dark hues.

Like any other product, the price of these fans too has gone up. The fan is priced at Rs. 15 a piece.

Yet, S. Kalaiselvi, who has taken up the seasonal business in seslling the hand fans, says there is huge demand for the product.

Even before the lunch recess on Wednesday, she had sold out 100 hand fans, with every buyer taking away three to four fans each. This manually operated device that can generate gentle breeze is safe on environment and also easy on the purse.

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