Friday, July 31, 2009

Is spitting our national pastime?

It’s insulting to find people expectorating, urinating, and shitting everywhere. You say we can’t avoid it because there aren’t enough toilets? Who says? I found this nasty red paan-spit in a urinal in a place I use quite often, while the wash basin was quite nearby. (I had a camera with me so I shot the above picture.) I find this habit repulsive, an assault on my senses. What can one do? There are rules against it, but can the police arrest by the hundreds for spitting? It shows a callousness and “don’t care a damn” attitude.

(This is done -->Sorry, a glitch has made the upload of the photo impossible. Created a shortcut on desktop without realising I was connecting from the camera's memory, then when I searched for the image, it wouldn't open, and then the battery ran out, the screen went blank, that's what technology does to intrepid bloggers. Will do this when the battery is back in action!)

Is spitting our national pastime? Yesterday I was standing at the Victoria Terminus and as I watched, a boy made a swaggering walk to the end of the platform and stylishly squirted spit through his two front teeth; another man spat a mouthful on the track, another was eating tobacco and spat the quid on the platform, made me wonder if it indeed was a national recreation. We are a nation of great spitters, we can spit in different styles, yes, we have made it into a fine art. Just watch that man expectorating: he heaves his whole body while doing so, as if he is undergoing some sacred purification ritual, and then when he spits, he exhibits the expression of someone who has fought off the demons. Aaah, what joy! Anywhere you go in India this is what sets us apart from the rest of the world, a disregard for others and the generous spreading of our internal secretions all around us. Ugh!

The malaise is so widespread that anywhere you go: staircases, toilets, corners of walls, office spaces, even sacred worshipping places are smeared by the red spit from fast-working, fast-drawing, ever-chewing mouths. Is it because we like to eat, or is it because we are poorly trained in hygiene? The man who has committed the above offence (the municipality calls this “nuisance” and they have “nuisance detectors” to catch the culprits) has scant respect for the people who would be using the urinal after him. I guess this stems from his over-inflated ego in which there is no space for anyone else but himself. I think that’s why we perform so poorly in team sports. Indian players will do all they can to score goals by themselves, or, hit the ball for a boundary with their own bats, as the case may be.

What’s the solution? I think spitting should attract fines of Rs 1000, or, one year in the slammer throughout India. I don’t know if the truculent denizens of Bombay, or, elsewhere would be deterred. But what’s the harm in trying?


Amit414@IT-BHU said...

In india,, somehow i feel, the habit like spitting is rooted in physcological frustration and inferiority. Spitting is a way to quench their ego and to feel the filthy superiority.
In Banaras, people are breaking records in spitting as you (Khaike Paan Banaras Wala..Khul jaaye Band Akal ka taala)

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John said...

Amit thanks for your comment. Yes, indeed it's something macho, or, so they (we) think.

Anonymous said...

Oh God! Spitting is indeed ubiquitous. One of the few things A-L-L Indians agree on, irrespective of religion and faith! I guess they believe these are the kind of actions that boost the inherent immunity of our clan! Absolutely disgusting!