Paan Stain Inside Aircraft – No Place Is Safe From the Red Tide

It is a most unattractive habit but one that is regrettably very common – the chewing of gutkha (chewing tobacco) followed by a stream of red spittle deposited anywhere and everywhere. Those disgusting emissions – paan ki peek – can be found deposited on roads and footpaths, stairwells and lift shafts, trains and busses, and apparently in planes as well. This image of a gutkha stain inside an aircraft is viral.

“Someone left their identity /mark”

This tweet by Awanish Sharan, IAS is viral. People who chew gutkha wouldn’t be objectionable (if someone wants to court mouth cancer, that is their funeral) if they didn’t display a complete inability to control that urge to spit.

People thought of this

Some celeb endorsements are irresponsible – chief among them being paan masala, the euphemism for gutkha. This came to mind immediately, owing to the fact that Ajay Devgn and his connection to Vimal is a longstanding one.

Also at the window seat

More recently we saw SRK endorse the Vimal brand and then Akshay Kumar as well

They are to blame?

While these actors don’t actually endorse gutkha, it is clear that ‘paan masala’ and ‘flavoured elaichi’ ads are surrogate advertising for gutkha.

Cause of cancer

Having celebrities endorse such brands lends credibility and glamour to a product that is actually a social evil known to be a leading cause of mouth cancer.


This commentator tried to suggest that this could be a coffee stain – pretty sure uncle chews gutkha.

A common complaint

Most of us who view this as a disgusting habit would like to tell people – chew tobacco if you must, but try and sort out your spitting issues.

Possible scenario

A rough translation of this tweet: a village uncle travelling by air for the first time may have fallen asleep with Vimal in his mouth. Upon waking up, he presumed he was in a bus and tried to spit from the window.

This classist tweet

Some assumed that just because someone had disgusting public manners, this was because they were used to a more economic mode of transport. Decent behaviour has nothing to do with money. In fact, it is often the most wealthy who behave in the most boorish and entitled manner.

Another unpleasant experience

Someone generously left their chewing gum on the seat of the plane.

A sign of…

This is like leaving behind a sign of one’s upbringing, culture and family says this tweet from another IAS officer with a strong social media following.


A lot of people expressed their disgust and outrage over the gutkha stain inside the aircraft. They expressed their disapproval of what can be seen as an act of public vandalism and asked for the strictest of exemplary punishment. I wonder how many of those outraging are themselves guilty of littering, damaging public property and breaking other rules of a civilized society?

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