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Indians love a good spit. Don't punish us with manners

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Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava
Jyotsna Mohan BhargavaMay 04, 2016 | 15:41

Indians love a good spit. Don't punish us with manners

When you rule colonies it can come back to bite or rather spit around you decades later. The Brits are learning this much to their horror, the famed Golden Mile in Leicester is now red. No, it hasn't got some fancy makeover. It is the paan chewers who have been spitting all around it with impunity.

Disgusting.

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Front doors, fences and pavements have been stained with paan, the betel leaf mixture that mostly every Indian has eaten at some time, but not all have left a "trail" behind them. Frustrated residents say Golden Mile, which has "no spitting signs" every few steps should be renamed as "red spit road"!

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At Leicester, Indians are painting the town red and how.

Paan is banned in several countries, including the UAE, where I live. One might think they banned the betel leaf because it's unhealthy, which of course, it is. But the real reason, whispered in the inner circles, is that its stains mar the aesthetics of an entire city.

"You can take me out of India, but you can't take India out of me", is a favourite quote of our NRIs.

They clearly can't leave the dirty manners behind either. Unsurprisingly, resident Indians make sure to follow suit.

I don't know what is worse, the disgusting red stains like a poor excuse for a graffiti or a man standing against those walls taking a leak? Come highway or a narrow lane, park your vehicle and relieve yourselves while giving the passer-by the urge to also rush to the washroom, gagging.

Then there is the blink-and-miss-it "your" spot in the queue, that is if you can find one to begin with. The concept of Indians and standing patiently in a row are two parallel lines and alas, the twain shall never meet.

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So we shove our way to buy a movie ticket, even push children when we have to and are always ready to leave an aircraft even before it lands.

We can keep shouting from the rooftops that we are not snake charmers, cow-on-the-streets-loving people but it becomes irrelevant when we repeatedly refuse to behave in a social environment.

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Public pissing is no more frowned upon. Chalta hai. 

An Indian who is now a resident of Leicester reacts to the paan spits by saying that this has been going on generations. She says it works in India, but not here. Why is the same activity taboo abroad but "chalta hai" in India?

Another Indian will drink the whole night and then drive one's cars over pavements or people, depends what comes first on the way home. Because there is nothing wrong about it. The same Indian will go abroad, have just the one drink and take a taxi home. Hypocrisy much?

"Baap ki sadak" got a whole new meaning recently when I saw a picture of an SUV driven all the way onto a train platform. Pity, the train couldn't make it to the man's home.

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Now, educating people is a part of the solution but not the complete answer. Tougher fines and punishment yes, but the police enthusiasm also lasts for a week and then fizzles away into inertia.

But there are some instances which take the ugly, brash Indian face to a new low.

Last month in Punjab's Jalandhar city, a barber was attacked by a young man refused to wait his turn for a haircut. The barber had to get his finger amputated after Amarjeet and his friends attacked him with some baseball bats and sharp-edged weapons.

This may be an extreme case, but it still reflects on us as a society. Forget the VIPs, even the common man has little sense of responsibility. Everything belongs to us otherwise it's the oft-repeated, "Jaanta nahi hai mera baap kaun hai".

Sadly, that baap did not punish the kid enough or give some lessons in Manners 101.

Last updated: May 04, 2016 | 15:41
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