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?