#MeThoo: The Legend of India’s Spit Personalities


#MeThoo: The Legend of India’s Spit Personalities

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Long before women in America pioneered the #MeToo movement and made this world a scary place for men, Indians were busy painting the town red with the #MeThoo movement and making it scary for everyone regardless of their gender. Though I am not sure why you city-type sophisticates invariably turn up your noses and break a few long-jump records in the process of avoiding that projectile of spit coming your way. C’mon, open your arms wide, SRK-style, and let it land smack on your face.

This is the least you can do to pay homage to the spirit of the fearless Indian who can emit bodily fluids anywhere, anytime, in front of anyone while raising his middle finger at the world. And look at you! The last time you let out even a teeny-weeny fart in a packed cubicle, you were ready to combust with shame. You then proceeded to stare accusingly at some random backside to pin the blame. But not these Thook Stars. They own their bodily secretions like a boss, as they make a small O with their mouth, draw the filth from their core using extreme suction, and flaunt it with flourish on the outside world.

Mind you, this is no ordinary thoo. Kabhi it’s just teeming with good ole germs, kabhi rang de basanti, but mostly it is lal salam. And it invariably comes with sound effects. Just the sound of aik thoo is enough for losers like us to jump out of the Thook Star’s way like startled rabbits.

What’s more, it is in perfect sync with the underlying Indian philosophy of keeping our houses clean by making our neighbourhoods dirtier. No wonder Swachh Bharat remains a distant dream.

Irrespective of how many crores of rupees is spent on renovating Connaught Place, it continues to attract Paan Indians who spray their masterpieces on its pristine white walls.

I’m not sure if anyone of you has noticed but spitting conveys emotions of myriad hues. I have often noticed random men aiming their spit toward me as I walk briskly toward the gym every morning. I have often wondered if this is some secret code to check out women minding their own business. So, every time a man spits more than twice in my direction, I secretly congratulate myself for being better than average-looking.

But it’s the man with gutkha spit swirling inside his mouth that I truly admire. He is the undisputed leader of the #MeThoo movement. It requires a dogged devotion to getting cancer to ignore those ghastly images of half-eaten faces plastered on gutkha packs before emptying that thing into your mouth day after day. Once he has red saliva inside his mouth, he is aware of its tremendous potential. Not only can he leave a spittle trail on railings of elevated roads, flyovers, hotel walls, and car parks, but his bros and he can also turn any building into a heritage structure, with just a few thoo thoos and a pee here and there. Irrespective of how many crores of rupees is spent on renovating Connaught Place, it continues to attract Paan Indians who spray their masterpieces on its pristine white walls.

Every Thoo Star knows it is tough to live up to standards set by the great masters who have turned Howrah Bridge into a self-corroding artefact with the daily onslaught of gutkha-pan spit. Yet he marches on, unmindful of the many laws and penalties imposed by the administration to dissuade him from desecrating his city.

How can he? There are so many luminaries adorning the hall of fame, Thook Stars who have set the standard so high, that it is impossible for him not to try and emulate their great acts. Legend has it Pan Khaye Sainya Kumar of Kanpur prevented a bank robbery by spitting gutkha in the eyes of the robbers. It was by accident of course. How long can you hold that cancerous spit in your mouth, dammit! But the badge of honour belongs to the 32-year-old with moonh mein Rajnigandha and kadmo mein duniya who rammed his Jaguar into the divider on Yamuna Expressway because he had to peep out to spit gutkha. Some might say, too bad he survived.

It is thanks to their unwavering patronage that Kamala Pasand can unleash its employees on unsuspecting passengers on a cruise ship Down Under and traumatise them for life. Filmfare Awards and Manikchand had a brief liaison and a gutkha king from Delhi is the flashiest man on Instagram.

As the Thook Star slowly walks toward the sunset, he wonders if, like Sardar Patel, he’ll also have a 182-metre statue dedicated to him. If birds can have the luxury to choose from so many statues of great men and women to poop on, surely he deserves at least one that pays homage to his spit personality?