These are plantain stems. First I thought these people were slicing the stem and drying it up to make crisps, but I have never heard of such a thing. Well, we normally add these in daal or finely chop and toss it up and use as a side dish along with rice based meal. Now, curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to know what exactly it was, so started chatting up with the lady who was deftly making these stuff. She was equally excited to explain what she was doing!
They were oil lamp wicks, which is used in Hindu special prayers and it was called as வாழைத்தண்டு திரி (Vazhaithandu Thiri)! Meticulously she showed me how to make it...here we go
Slice the stem > pull out the fiber > wrap it > dry it. Roll the dried ones and make a wick, whenever you want to light the lamp. It is believed that lighting lamp with this wick will be relinquish any form of curse!