So I'm used to people spitting, you know? Can't stand it, but I see it all the time. At a grimy hospital in Berhampur, Orissa, not only did I see guys hawking up stuff from their depths to expel in any random direction at all, I realized to my disgust that the bars on the windows were swollen to twice their size with stuff spat at them.
So yes, I'm hardly surprised when I see people spitting. Not even people in of buses spitting out their windows, unmindful that some poor fellow might be sitting on a scooter below waiting for the green signal, not for sputum to disfigure his gelled hair. Not even drivers of buses spitting out their windows.
But this driver, APSRTC from Cuddapah to Angallu, now he surprises me. He spits every minute or two, but -- several days later, I am scarcely able to believe I saw this -- he spits inside the bus. Meaning, he turns his head to his right, looks down and spits onto the floor there. Every minute or two, stuff from his leaky mouth sprays the floor and his door. He doesn't appear to think this is unusual behaviour. Sure, he's sparing any possible unsuspecting scooterists outside. But to the right of his feet ... I don't even want to think about it. I'm in the first seat, no more than
7 or 8 feet behind him, watching this happen. And no, I really don't want to think about what's at his feet.
And the more interesting thing is, every time the man spits, he takes his foot off the accelerator. The bus sort of shudders as it slows, as he spits, throwing us all forward; then he presses the foot back down and the thing surges ahead violently, throwing us all backward. It's three-and-a-half hours in this bus, shudder-slow, hawk-spit-and-go all the way.
I stagger off at Angallu feeling nauseous. Is it the shuddering or the spitting?