This happened at V.T. station a few days ago. It’s so common that we don’t give it much thought. I am standing on the edge of the crowded platform looking into the distance to see the first flicker of a train, a vague slithering that would be followed by the steady beat of wheels on rails. There’s a crowd of similarly anxious people behind me. A tall well-dressed man comes from behind me and expectorates a mouthful of dirty red concoction on the rail, as if it was some kind of ritual he has to follow after bending from the waist and peering at the rail for the slightest sound of the approaching train. He is unconcerned. He is just following a habit, looking and then spitting, unconscious of what he is doing.
Then another man comes up from behind and peering into the distance at the converging lines of the rail in the distance for a slight movement that would hint at the vehicle that would take him home, aims another mouthful on the tracks. His spit isn’t red, it’s just spit. Then another, then another, then another, then another till the railway track has become filled with a uniform film of spit. Then a man from the opposite platform jumps down on the tracks and coming to where I am standing offers his hand so as he can climb on the platform with my help.
Hm. I just ignore him. Yes, I do. How could I help him after seeing all the revolting spitting that was done? I still can’t understand why I turned away from him in disgust. Afraid of catching germs, could be?
Why does a man born in the sub-continent of a billion spit so much. If on an average an Indian spits one kilogram of spit the country would be generating a billion kilogram of what? Spit! What pleasure do they derive? Why can’t we control this urge? Why can’t we grow out of this bad habit that sees every wall coated by huge arching marks of spit, drying, coagulating, defacing, disfiguring all buildings and walls of our nation?
I think we should install spittoons everywhere and anyone caught not spitting into it should be made to wash and clean it. Good idea? Let me know.