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!
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.