Spit, wide and open

One of the major flips hampering (motor)-biking in the city for me, is the random squirt of human saliva I tend to keep receiving at equally random intervals.

In our country it is well-thought of pass-time or maybe even an art, I think , so I’d refer to these habitual offenders as patrons.

I wonder if I should stop biking to office.

Roads were originally designed to spit upon, or so it seems – and driving on them being just a well-thought of secondary purpose. Public buses contain the most patrons , most are waiting for the bus to stop or slow down to make a (potentially master) stroke. And usually its over in a split second – so that it is difficult for the “canvas” (or a potential one) to precisely locate the brush. Not that you could do a lot even if catch the patron – you could just glare at him till the signal turns green – so that he doesnot attempt an action replay on your freshly laundered Van Heusen.

I try as much as possible to resist the temptation of sliding by the sides of buses in traffic blocks , though this usually defeats the very purpose of using a two-wheeler in dense traffic. I once thought that AC buses would be safe and kept jostling by their sides till once , when I’d already cleared once I heard the dreaded squirt sound at my back – and yes – it was from the AC bus , but not any passenger but the driver ( who has an open window apparently for hand signals – put to real good use).

And buses are not alone , the lorries are quite competent also – particularly the “cleaner’s” window – many a time he is half outside his window – trying to navigate the huge vehicle – and so he can squirt even at speeds without it all blowing back on him. The cabbies (hired cars , autorichshaws) come next – and this time its always the driver (maybe it is the passengers stiff upper lip that prevents him from joining – the fact that that would potentially equate him with the driver – ah caste system inside a four-wheeler?) , though given a different time and place they could themselves do better. The two-wheeler driver/passenger doesnot quite live up to any of those above, maybe for fear of back-squirting oneself or the pillion.

And this art exhibition doesnot stop on road; nooks of staircases , hallways , especially of Govt offices provide excellent canvas to practise – most are shades of red ( “some like it dark”) with an occasional froth and gray of phlegm. Treading on the tarmac of the city bus stand feels more dangerous when I’m trying to dodge millions of frothy mini-puddles down on the road and big hunks of petrol-guzzling , machines , driven perhaps by alcohol-guzzling drivers up on the road.

I gave up wearing sandals.

Railways tracks at stations are another popular target – but it is for everything – when on platform , the railway tracks are our bottomless pits for receiving our spit, garbage , our kids’ excreta , everything. Anyone heard of waste-management?

At other street-spots , a chain-reaction follows – one has to pioneer (in response to a mildly bad odor, maybe) and a whole truckload of patrons follow at the same spot – like a signature campaign. And just like signatures , people have different flourishes , some use a gorge between two fingers to form a neat jet, other shape ball inside their mouth, trying till it attains a critical mass till expelling it.

If we could emit innovation even at a fraction of this rate, we might not have been in the “third” world.