Unity in Diversity
We all agree that India is a unique country. It showcases unity in diversity; we have multiple languages, cultures, cuisine, religions, colours, diversity of terrain and thought. It thrives, resonates, is chaotic, funny, noisy, polluted, developing and finally things get done with ‘jugaad’ and ‘adjust madi’ as they say in Kannada! We eat on banana leaves with hands, we squat and use water after answering nature, we stare and ogle at anything which moves and we are ever ready with unsolicited advice.
Spit and Polish
One truly endearing habit which a large number of Indians instinctively adopt and are proud of due to its exclusivity and originality, and which we proclaim as our USP is SPITTING! We are Masters at it; if ever a PhD is awarded for it we will have a billion doctors! We spit anything and everything, solids, liquids, mixtures, phlegm, tobacco in varied colours, composition, volumes, digested, undigested; you name it, and we spit it.
Mainly we spit paan with or without tobacco. Nobody is surprised when a true artist asks the paanwaala for ‘gimme red or maroon’ or ‘20 footer dena’ signifying the colour of extract or distance one can fire based on viscosity, volume and calibre of artist. Well, we even use spit to polish (including shoes) which gave rise to the popular saying in Army about ‘spit and polish’! Does it mean we consider our Nation as a spittoon, I guess so, except for our homes. Homes are a strict NO NO, but wait, it’s only for the spitter’s home. Anybody else’s is a great target and opportunity! We pride ourselves in creating art on all available walls, posters, roads, malls, cinema halls everywhere. Nothing and nobody is sacrosanct! Did I say nobody meaning humans; yes I did, because the art of spitting requires one to generally spit without looking with gusto and noise from anywhere. The higher the platform like a rooftop, bus, car or a hilltop, the better the distance spread, spray of spit with its multi-coloured multi-layered contents that by the way are permanent. They can’t be washed away or dry cleaned. Humans are fair game, in fact the best game. Those of you who wonder why some of us move around outside our homes in raincapes and umbrellas even when it is not raining have got your answers.
We are also known as a secular and tolerant country, but we have slowly started spitting venom! Do not worry, we are not snakes but love to spit venomous gossip. Thank God, we are pretty upfront when it comes to spitting, blatant and in your face with a wide grin and finesse. Wonder why the Indian Olympic Association does not demand its inclusion in Olympics. It will not be accepted as we are universally accepted as world beaters. Nobody can touch us with spit, as ‘we can out-spit all’. How can they compete as its banned in all countries and people generally follow rules, traditions and customs whether they are under scrutiny or not.
Maybe we can make a start with inter-state championships and draw world attention. Start with paan and then move onto more potent, colourful and esoteric substances. We can have two categories, one with and one without tobacco. After all we need to encourage the non-tobacco user. Initially folks from Benaras (now Varanasi) may have an edge, if local legend of its class is true, but soon the Hyderabadi, Uttarkhandi or Bihari (do not get offended if your state is not specifically mentioned; I include all) will fine tune their product and compete with gusto. The average accuracy, consistency and distance achieved of spitting is anyway legendary. Localities can boast of their heroes spitting into a thimble from twenty feet without any diffusion or spray. The spray spitting competition will be equally colourful and the radius and perimeter covered enormous; maybe in times to come a tennis court or even a football ground- who knows with time–!!!
Overseas is a different ballgame
However, there is one strange phenomenon, a departure from our profligate spitting ways; we only spit in India! We literally swallow our spit and pride everywhere outside Indian mainland and remain spitless. All the spotless white walls, shirts or humans are left alone. We swallow and move on.
Will COVID-19 initially restrict and slowly erase our collective memory of spitting, or will it actually increase our intent and capabilities due to ‘Social Distancing’ (we need to gain more distance and accuracy to hit our objective) and apprehension of ingesting the dreaded virus. Only time will tell.
Major Thrust towards Swachh Bharat
Our hobby and specialisation needs to be contained in tune with the national calling of ‘Mera Bharat Mahaan’ (my India is great) and ‘Swachh Bharat’ (clean India). So citizens, lets spit fire on those who eye our territorial integrity and prosperity, and no spitting venom and other substances in India or on each other.