Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Spitter’s Saga

Yaaak Thooo…HolyDove! Make way for the red shower to reach it’s goal..Thhumpp! and it sticks to the wall forever. You ask what?? Well, something that’s beyond Government’s Unique Identification Number or Voter Id card. Something that identifies Indians as Indians. Something that is national passion and favourite pastime. And that ‘something’ is ‘Spitting’. The nation has an ancient fondness for something called paan -- a betel leaf wrapped around a varying mix of areca nuts, cardamom, lime paste, tobacco and other flavours and after it is chewed, there are two places it could go, down or out!.

Art of Spitting

Armed with a mouth full of saliva mixed in discharges from the respiratory passages, they leisurely shoot it on all the walls, may it be walls of post offices, railway stations, bus stands, streets, adjoining walls of some residential/office building, bazaars and why not the hidden wall behind the elevator? If you haven’t noticed it yet then do it next time you climb an elevator and press a button before exit so that it explores some other floors while you check the copper-stained-walls-behind-the-elevator that have been rusted from the infected saliva of spitters. The guthkas and paans are to be blamed that lure these innocent people who are in a habit of constantly chewing paan and after few minutes just like the itch needs to be scratched, the spit also has to be smacked out.

I paused for about seven minutes when I first saw it, wondering how they actually do it! And how on earth could the ‘impossible to reach’ part of the wall i.e between the two floors could ever be stained. Possibly the elevator constructers were too pissed with the contractor and they retaliated by decorating the walls with grime, I concluded the thought to leave. Or it could be the job of spit-haters who love to part with our bodily fluids and ‘thoo’ it on the walls, I thought again later.

Recently a columnist explained the whole concept as the biological make-up that enables them (the spit-haters) to produce so much of stuff that seem to be forever having to get rid of and expel it from the body lest they fall sick and die. It’s funny that the spit is not only crimson or blood red but also transparent and green! Don’t ask how. You must have seen the streets and public toilets patched with thick cough like phlegm ridiculing at you as if you have been commanded to wipe them off with naked hands.

These Do No Good Too

Nevertheless the ‘Do Not Spit Here’ sign post do no good, rather, itself gets bathed with the sputum yet stands still in a (S)pitiable condition. If spitters are at the bus stand, they will spit at the stand while they are waiting, on the steps of the bus while boarding, and through the window on the road while riding. The auto-rickshaw-wallah will slow down while spitting, the taxi driver will poke out his head and spit in the air, the truck driver won’t even look while spitting. (Seems like there is some big spitting marathon going on in the country and everyone’s in.)

“A tourist friend of mine from Netherland initially got horrified to misunderstand the red spit as blood and got impatient to know why so many people suffer from almost the same disease and still be unnoticed. But soon it dawned on her that the terracotta haze is nothing but a filthy, unhealthy, smutty and stinking habit that many Indians acquire, Isnt’t it petulant?” asked Akanksha, a bank employee irritably.

How About this

It won’t be surprising if Indians approach the International Olympic Committee with a proposal to introduce a new sport ‘the Spitathlon’. Since most Indians practice the sport, it is sure to get huge viewership and fans. Millions of tobacco companies would sponsor and zillons of money would flow in. Doubtlessly for Indians to become world champs.

“Though my teeth are stained and my mouth smells but I make sure to get rid of the first juice of paan that is dangerous for health so I spit,” comforted Jagpal, a businessman. But Where? Where do you spit? “Ah! That’s not a worry, there are many places.” he winked. Okhay!!

This Would Do!

In China and Dubai, chewing and spitting paan, especially in public places, is prohibited. Dare you suggest that we take the same approach here in this country, soon some bleeding heart liberal sena attacks on you and declare it a person’s human right to spit on the pavement.

Let’s start a secret campaign of saying ‘yukk’ to the people spitting around. Make ickiest face looking at the blob of gob spitted by them. If this doesn’t work, maximum we could do is to make sconces like brackets on the walls with a door to cover. Two motives are fulfilled here, one the spit is out as usual on the wall second the wall still looks clean and beautiful. Atleast the distemper and paint expenses would be limited to four walls of the sconce. Spitters beware, all of this is a flabby ‘something’ to annoy the people but once they vow to stop you, the maroon infected sputum would go down, not out.

CAUTION: Effects of chewing paan are very similar to that of chewing tobacco. Many people think that chewing paan is safer than smoking tobacco. But studies have shown that instead of being safer, they are equally, if not more detrimental to one's health. This is because, paan with betel nut and the other spices is kept in your mouth for minutes at a time, causing more harmful chemicals to enter your body than when you smoke - you just shift your lung problems to your mouth.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On Amrita Pritam, For Amrita Pritam, Because of Amrita Pritam

Very lately I finished a book in Hindi (well yes, I tried my eyes on Hindi for a change), it's called 'Paanch Baras Lambi Sadak' by Amruta Pritam. Oh! quite a heavy one for someone who keep oneself distant from the deep thoughts, solitude and being too sensitive.
It carries a few short stories and a long story too, called 'Yatri'. Each story gives an idea on how drastically life twists itself within a span of five years and how, for some it's a long time while for others it's not the case. 'Yatri' on teh other hand was bit dragging and extremely saddistic to handle, but I read it patiently.
It proved a bit heavy to me for the reason I simply couldn't absorb the idea of someone writing so very well. I mean that's what I would call a perfect writer, Amrita Pritam had the ability to connect each and every word and thing she wrote, knew exactly what she wanted to express further, skilled to pour life into the dead and non living things. It took quite a long time for me to finish a book of just 180-200 pages because unlike other usual books, it forced me meditate it! Sink in. Within.
It surely weren't the stories in particular that swayed my thoughts but the pensiveness of the author left me hysterically wondering could it be possible for a human being to think of something so sublime! And then I find my eyebrows raised with a thought 'it's just the first book of Amrita Pritam that I have read, what would happen if I read further?' The writer's soul within me says that her writing has a capability to deject a good writer and elevate an aspiring writer. And I decided to be an aspiring one. May be forever. May be till I finish reading all her books. May be till the day I become a writer like her.
I was experiencing a block recently, it wasn't the writer's block exactly but yes, something near to it because I knew I wanted to write but the cause was missing. Thankfully, it's over now. Amrita Pritam definitely added fuel to the tank of words, though she is all about Hindi, the language which is absolutely alien to me when it comes to writing, but her style of writing is brisk, sausy, novel, unused and fresh forever. Really believe it or not she was an awesome woman of thoughts and words.
Her writing is are isolated? Not liking it? Read her, you will love your solitude and would want to be there forever. If you aren't isolated because you are afraid of it, that fear will go off once you read her, because you will start loving it. And if you aren't isolated at all for no reason, you should want to have a cozy corner in life where you could read her heartfully. The latter one goes with me!

So guys don't miss a chance to read her at least once if you want to try some serious reading or writing for that matter.
And as for now I am back to my very own shelf of books backlogging since ages, namely: 'At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks (more than half done) and 'Wuthering Heights a classic' (just started) and many more. They feel ignored, therefore, after a brief attention to them, I would be back to Amrita Pritam's Biography called 'Rasidi Ticket'. Yeah, I have already got it with me, courtesy to my friend Raj.