One heavily trafficked evening, while walking to the bus stop, I encountered a funny but a gross scene. One colleague was busy washing her sleeves at the roadside and few people were trying to help her. When I went near, I came to know that she was badly hit by something called “paan spit”.

First of all, few facts from Wikipedia- Spitting or expectoration, is the act of forcibly ejecting saliva or other substances from the mouth. Spitting upon another person, especially onto the face, is a universal sign of anger, hatred or contempt. It can represent a "symbolical regurgitation" or an act of contamination. Various diseases and infections can be spread by spitting, including tuberculosis, influenza, and the common cold.

All the cigarette and paan vendors usually carry a board, “Cigarette smoking is injurious to health.” How about- “Spitting is injurious to public health" and "Spit at the risk of your civic sense". What is the nightmare of every municipality head and every big and small house owner- The ease with which the public sets up its own urinal and dustbin. Visit the Dhaula Kuan bus stand, you will find that the urinals smell better than the bus stop because people are too lazy to walk 10 or 20 metres and feel proud to pee near hundreds of people. Visit any newly built structure, you would not be able to find a single pillar without red spots.

Thank you for not listening :|

The obsession people have with spitting in India is inexplicable. There are so many idioms in Hindi language on spitting- "chaand pe thookna, "thook kar chaatna, "thoo thoo hona, thookna is actually seen as a contempt.

When i was leaving for Delhi, 4 years back, one important point from the list of do's and dont's- Never walk closer to any stationery vehicle during evenings and nights. I have followed this point so diligently that I always care not to walk along any vehicle in the daytime too. And if I do, I always map the height of the vehicle and calculate, which part of my body will get colored if someone spits out of the window. Just like bombings during a war, or bird droppings near electricity cables or trees, water balloons during the Holi festival, this unpredicted spitting is actually nothing but probably one of the side effects of evolution of modern public transport system.

Being a nice spectator of these explicit shows, I have tried to observe and analyze this favorite habit of our dear fellow countrymen. Following are the results of my humble efforts to decipher the language of spitting:

• Spitting as contempt- Spitting in many cultures is seen as a contempt. If you have watched many bollywood movies, you must have observed this –“Duniya bhar me humari thoo thoo ho rahi hai”, “Main thookta hoon tumhare paison pe”, etc. etc.
• Spitting while speaking- This is to shed off some extra emotions and energy while speaking. Some people just cannot fit their enthusiasm and pitch in their speech and thus take short breaks by spitting. Sometimes such breaks also help in curbing the fatal tendency to use exotic words like m$%^&**, B$^^&* etc.etc.
• Spitting as a stress buster- Mostly found in athletes and laborers, this spitting habit is actually a stress buster but sometimes is a sign of misconduct when a player spits on the opposition. Some people also believe that sportspersons (especially football and baseball players) spit to mark their territory.
• Spitting as a show off of rich culture- Chewing paan is deep rooted in our rich ancient culture. We are still not out of stock of such devout items who think chewing paan is a rich practice without caring if they are carrying a spittoon to preserve their pride.
• Spitting as imitation- This is the most innocent kind of spitting. Little kids like to imitate this action but often fail miserably spilling the saliva on themselves.
• Spitting to avoid evil- According to myths, spitting keeps the evil away. If someone is speaking of some misfortune, you spit on yourself to keep it away or if you want to save your near and dear one from evil, you spit on that person.
• Spitting in buses or car- This is a really good practice especially when one is travelling in an air conditioned car. The scientific reason behind it is when you lower down your window to spit, you actually receive a good amount of natural air.

Saluting this eternal love for spitting, i have some options for tapping this unnoticed talent into something that will make this country a little bit more beautiful:

• Spit sentence(less harsh than capital punishments)- Instead of giving death sentences, bring the culprit to a public place, bury him till neck. Appoint at least 50 paan chewers in 4-5 lots who keep on spitting on the poor chap. Either he will die gasping for air or spend the rest of his life cleaning his face or will go mad after this humiliation depending on his luck.
• Spit painting (economical when compared to spray painting)- Our nation should show its artistic side. For any structure (buildings, towers, installations), it can hire 500-1000 paan chewers who would be happy to unleash the artist in them by spitting at different angles and styles, coloring the whole structure. One can experiment a bit by adding some natural food coloring agents for different colors and hues. Who knows, may be the Lal Quila is so red just because of such local enthusiasts.
• Spit power(Small innovative renewable source of energy, it will exist till the mankind exists)- We can develop a small turbine which will use the spitting force to generate small amount of electricity. With millions of such units in a country of billions, we can make a difference. A major part of rural India still lives without electricity, remember?
• Spitomania (Forget Roadies and Splits Villa, Spitomania is the show of the year)- World have few games on spitting too. Some of these are-
~ Cherry pit spitting (the act of spitting, or ejecting, the seed of a cherry from one's mouth with great speed so as to send the pit a great distance),
~Cricket Spitting( a sport wherein contestants place a dead cricket in their mouth, and then spit it as far as they can) and
~Kudu dung spitting or Bokdrol Spoeg in Africa (In the competition small, hard pellets of dung from the Kudu, a type of Antelope are spat, with the farthest distance reached being the winner. Kudu dung spitting is popular enough to have an annual world championship competition, with the formal sport beginning in 1994.)

Blessed are those who lead a royal life, travel in luxury cars, can even afford a silver spittoon but have the insensitivity of lowering their glasses to spit on the road. Lesser mortals are those travelling by public transports, have no other way to excrete out and are bound to spit on the road. Selfish are those who live in the top floor of buildings and are too lazy to clean their stained washbasins so they take a privilege in spitting from the balcony. Lastly, unluckiest are those who are street walkers and carry a heart big enough to accept other's saliva on their head. Which category do you fall into?


Shivangi Shaily said...

Wow! kudos to your observing power girl!

Shivangi Shaily said...

On a serious note, spitting is indeed injurious to public health. But how many of us are actually even aware of civic sense? Small things make a big difference.

Anonymous said...

Youth needs to start opening up their eyes towards small issues initially to help avert big things in life.

Mohi said...

I agree with Shivi, kudos to your observing power. :)

It is indeed a shameful act. There is nothing like we are unaware of this fact. We all know what we need to do.

Christopher Paul said...

well known fact!! nice to read !!

Shivangi Shaily said...

spitting isn't in fashion too! So I labelled it with fashion trends as well, to remind ' how unfashionable this act is! ;D

Yes, appears l'll dumb, but chalta hai :P

Admin, Team arbitSpeculations said...

hahahahaha, great observation and humorous read...

Loved the part when u said, spitting sometimes curbs the urge to utter some slangwords. True story. :P

Anonymous said...

amazingly written!

Pravy said...


Who so ever you are..aS is thankful to you for your read. :)

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