Monday, September 29, 2008
The BRILLIANT graphic is not a pac man or a fortune cookie under duress; nor is it a baby carriage or a caution against jumping face first into a hammock. In fact, it is a highly creative representation of a corner.
In India, especially in the north, many people enjoy chewing betel nut, often in a preparation called paan. Betel nut is a mild stimulant and pretty tasty, I have to say, despite the fact that it temporarily dyes the mouth a lurid red color. It's also possibly mildly carcinogenic, but so is breathing in India, and at least the betel nut is all-natural and locally produced. Anyway, the procedure for chewing betel (or paan) is to stick it between the cheek and the gum. As your mouth fills with bright red saliva, you as a chewer of betel are faced with a question which, since I am actually going to type it without clever little "*" edits, may inadvertantly bring a certain subset of googlers to this post. That question? Spit or swallow. And in India, if you choose to spit, it's either particularly satisfying or particularly polite - I never made it a priority to learn which - to spit in a corner if at all possible. Which is why, despite the sign, it looks like there's been a bloody murder in every corner of the New Delhi Railway station.