A Spitting Image

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Spitting habit in India

I love my country, they say. Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. I will beat up anyone who criticises this country. And then, they spit. They make the streets of this country they love one big, dirty spittoon.

They spit while walking on the pavement; they spit while driving their car. They spit near the neighbour’s gate, never mind how they completed all their ablutions two minutes back at home. The roads are littered with disgusting, gooey spit, right outside a flashy shopping mall or a fine dining restaurant. There is spit lining the walls of a public monument – some of it is even paan-coloured. You walk two minutes in any direction, and your shoes are sure to encounter someone’s spit. Actually, forget the walking, you can be showered by spit even if you are peacefully riding your bike. The spitters don’t see who’s ahead of/behind them.

I wonder – how do some people generate so much spit? Are all of them suffering from some kind of salivary malfunction? Sometimes I think, all this spitting is a chain reaction – you see it, you feel like doing it. And it never stops. Aside from the fact that it is a disgusting habit that does nothing for our cityscape, it is also a dangerous habit. A number of infectious diseases can spread via this route; God knows enough and more are spreading already.

It really apalls me. It is the spitting image of revulsion. What’s worse is, this spitting is not even one of those disgusting things we tend to do in private. People spit when their dates are siting beside them, when they are chauffering someone to a party, when they have a sick person to attend to, when they have been blabbering for an hour about their six-digit monthly income. All that money and faux-glam go straight into the drain.

What should we do about it? Can we setup vending machines for spittoons? Start neighbourhood clinics for salivary gland treatment? Coat the streets with spit repellers that boomerang the spit back to the spitter? Anyone?

Update: I am back in Pune for now. It upsets me that the first piece I write after coming back is on this subject. But this spitting has traumatised me these last couple of days, and I cannot seem to come to terms with the ugliness of this habit. Has the problem become worse over the years or is it just me?



8 thoughts on “A Spitting Image

  1. No its not just you. Perhaps there has been a surge in tobacco consumption and people spit more often than before. Needless to mention spitting has existed since long and the condition has not improved. No one spits at home, but on roads. You know, roads are free, so people spit anywhere they want.

    • Welcome here. 🙂
      I agree with you – roads are seen as free, ‘public property’ where you are free to do as you like. With some people, it is almost a compulsion – you see a spot, you spit!

      Hope to see you around more often.

  2. I was last in India 6yrs ago but lucky enough not to encounter this disgusting behaviour – I might even put lunch on hold for 30mins now!! What can be done?
    1. India is a country of technical revolution. Install CCTV camera’s everywhere, if you are caught spitting, you get a bill sent home
    2. Put up signs informing people their spitting could go Viral on YouTube and they’ll be the laugh of the internet
    3. Empower laugh abiding citizens with ‘semi-police’ powers (we have PCSO’s here in the UK) so that if they spot someone spitting they can issue on the spot fines or slap the culprits face
    4. Have a national ‘Name and Shame Spit people’ day where you name and shame the area with the highest number of spitting and the ‘top 10’ spitters…
    5. Electronic tags for all people above the age of 16 which monitors and conducts a spit count..

    You can can I’ve really thought about this one…always good to read your posts.

    • Those are some amazing ideas! I especially love number 5. I so wish the administration would give this problem as much thought as you have.

      By the way, you were really fortunate to not encounter this behaviour on your last India trip. I can tell you, it broke my heart.

  3. Heyyyy.. Welcome back 🙂

    well what do i say I think its more of being a IDIOT rather than any malfunction etc, People just dont care and I do like the idea of spit repellers that Spits back at anyone spitting..

    It is such a dirty habit Not sure if this can be fixed with our mentality..

    • What say we initiate the spit repeller program? 😛

      It indeed is a very dirty habit and will tell on our mentality, no matter how much we try to hide it.

      P.S.: So good to hear from you. How have you been? 🙂

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