Illustration: Fahim Anzoom
Spitting in public is an oft-derided custom amongst so-called “civilized” people. Some say it is uncouth. Some say it is a disgusting practice. But we Bangladeshi people take great pride in expelling our spit in crowded public places. Spitting in public is not just some random act committed out of a basic lack of manners. It is an art that is often underappreciated.
Only on the streets of our beloved city of Dhaka will you ever behold the magnificent art of spitting. It is most often accompanied by that melodious pthooth sound, although there are different categories of spitting that have been classified according to the accompanying sound effect. The more vigorous category of spitting while making guttural khkhkh sound is not for the common Bangladeshi. It is only mastered after years and years of studious practice. Then there is colored spitting: the whole industry of paan-shupari is dependent upon this genre. Producing magnificent crimson hued spit is a sport unparalleled in grace and beauty. Yours truly once had the rare honor of having a perfectly good shirt made even better by being spat on by a masterful paan-chewing CNG driver. It remains, to this day, a fondly cherished memory.
Without further ado, we bring you the step-by-step guide to spitting like a true Bangladeshi:
1. Choose target. Passers-by offer much needed challenges once you have mastered stationary objects.
2. Generate your own viscous liquid. Alternatively, vigorously chew on betel leaves.
3. Fill up ¾ portion of mouth with spit.
4. Draw in air from lungs to provide maximum thrust.
5. Produce spitting noise of choice. The louder the better, but do not lose fluid.
6. Apply impulse force to fluid.
7. Adjust mouth shape to a perfect O for aerodynamic perfection.
8. Stand back and admire your handiwork.
Let the spitting begin.