A fine art indeed!

The man standing in front of me is chewing something, lost in his own world. You can tell that he is enjoying the taste of whatever he is chewing at. His facial expressions show eternal bliss as he silently goes on his own trip, you feel that it must be something very intoxicating.

And suddenly he arches his back with the grace of a ballet dancer, throws back his head, his eyes closed, his face most grotesque, as the bright red liquid mixed with his own saliva, is expelled from his mouth and making the most perfect curve, it is splattered on the nearest wall with fine droplets forming a beautiful design on the wall. And if the wall has been white washed, the design looks exquisite.

That, my friends, is the fine art known as spitting , in lay man terms.

Now this fine art is in danger of extinction, what with the government banning it from public places in India. It comes at a time, it was on the verge of getting maximum votes as a new Olympic game so that the Indian sub-continent can be given a fair chance at winning some serious metal. After all, all the sports in the Olympic games are originated in the European continent, though the country, Greece, where they originated eons back, is no longer among the top medal winning countries.

I had a dream…an Indian player of this sport is standing very confidently, paunch and all, but otherwise with a slight body frame, among the Chinese, the Europeans, the Africans at the spitting range of the next Olympics.

Among the competitors’, is a competitor from the other sub-continental country too, who the Indian knows as his closest competitor and who alone challenges him in this new sport. Paan wallah bhaiyas’ sits in front of each competitor, a paan in their hand, in the pose of offering the paan to each competitor, at the sounding of the ‘start’ siren.

The faces of the Indian, the other sub-continental guy and the very competitive Chinese player, are dribbling with red saliva, which has formed a permanent red scar from near the corner of the mouth going down towards the chin. You can tell from this sign, how many hours of practice, these competitors’ have undergone.

And as the siren goes off, the competitors’ accept the paans from the eager bhaiyaas, they then arch their backs, throw back their heads, their faces grimacing from the efforts, as the finely chewed red liquid escapes their mouths and shoots off towards the target, a freshly white washed wall with the bulls eye painted.

Suddenly the stadium watching this newly introduced sport, erupts with joy, as the Indian is the winner, with his entire spittoon hitting the bulls eye, closely followed by the other sub-continental guy, who has won the maiden medal for his country and the Chinese has come a close third.

In fact, the Chinese is so near that he is sure to be a big threat to the Indian and the others from the sub-continent, in years to come. Less said about the Europeans , Americans and Africans, the better, since they had to forfeit their deposits, since their spittoons’ either fall on themselves, and more seriously, on the judges of the competition.

The competitor from Great Britain is a commendable fourth, since he is quite well versed in sub-continental matters, due to obvious reasons.

But alas…my dream remains a dream due to the cruel hand of fate which snatches away the last hope in the form of a ban on this great cultural heritage of the sub-continent.

Yatindra Tawde

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