Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Post-Chew factor

I did a post on chewing gum once. Waxed , (what I thought, was ) eloquent , on the attitude, the poses, the defiance, and assorted observations peripheral to the actual mechanical action. Turns out that I was really only half informed.

The proof of the gum is not in the chewing but in the post-spit utility.

Chewing gum has amazing uses, after you have chewed it copiously.

You can fix leaking radiators with chewing gum; if you are unable to afford a stapler, two sheets of some important paper can be held together in gummy glory; you can use it as window putty to seal gaps in windows; you can use it as a retrieval technology, by applying it to the end of a stick , which is then used to pick up things. It is also touted to improve long term and short term memory if chewed constantly, and also touted a s a digestive aid, that gets the saliva going. And just in case you are the artistic type, nicely chewed gum, is often amenable to be used as sculpture material.

In short, its adhesive properties are amazing.

Some one else has been thinking along these lines too.

Ten months ago, our Union Finance Minister came to know about 16 places in his office which looked like something had been stuck there with an "adhesive". Since the choice of rooms and offices was of some significance, he wrote to the PM, and asked him to conduct , possibly a secret enquiry, about this. Presumably this letter was not secret, and the secret enquiry was actually known to some folks, because soon after some unusual non-routine sleuthing folks descended down to check out the 16 places, they found only the adhesive. With markings on it to indicate that something with sharp edges was embedded there, earlier.

The country's official premier investigative agency, which was hitherto busy with 2G scams and analysing secret phone conversations, rushed over to investigate, and announced recently, that this was all much ado about nothing, and the stuff was actually chewing gum, stuck all across important desks and rooms.

Which makes you wonder. Why the embedded entities are not being mentioned.

Who visits the Minister ? Easily, that is ? Who is on great and backslapping terms with the assistants to the minister ? Do well known corporate folks walk in to see the Minister chewing gum on the side ? Or is it some everyday ministry person who comes to the conference room , no questions asked, and quietly sticks a heavily chewed wad beneath the table ? Can you imagine a captain of industry leaning over to respectfully shake hands with the minister, while the other hand slips and sticks something under the table as he uses it for support ? Or an assistant sort of letting a paper fall, and bending to pick it up, and doing the stuff with the chewing gum, as the important people smile and praise each other and sip tea ?

Who has been hiring the cleaning staff at the ministry ? Or is it someone so well known to everyone, that he never undergoes a security check, forget anyone asking him to open his mouth and do "aaaaah" !

September 2010 onwards, the ministry is probably , as they say, "seized" of matters relating to the budget, which is announced on Feb 28 every year. So it might be interesting to find out who visited the place.

It might also be interesting to find out if chewing gum played an important part in the 2G scam wire taps that introduced us to glamorous folks in high places, some of whom could be chewing gum with extra sticky properties.

Could this chewing gum thing be a smart move from folks trying to avoid entry security checks in government offices ? I've seen beeping doors , frisking folks and angry visitors, but maybe its time to now ask people to open their mouths, and do aah; confiscate any gum they may be chewing; and check their bags for more chewing gum.

Should the finance minister now tax chewing gum , in the next budget ? Is Wrigleys Chewing Gum company going through bad times, and is it being taken over by a powerful Reliable Indian company ?

Given that we have so many government sport functionaries who hold on to posts for more than 25 years (and counting), should someone investigate the role of chewing gum on chair surfaces ?

Why do I sense a clamour in Parliament for subsidised chewing gum for MP's? Is a new Chewing Gum factory happening in Amethi ? And is the Bharatiya Janata Party demanding a paan flavored chewing gum ?

Is Jairam Ramesh about to fund some research on biodegradable chewing gum ? Given that he has visions of so many powerful folks chewing and chewing away and then spitting ?

Are government cars being checked for chewing gum ? Wouldn't someone like to know what Minister A said to Minister B while returning from Jantar mantar ?

Are the Chinese already ahead in the field of Chewing gum detectors ? Is some minister's uncles' daughter-n-law's first cousin an importer of these ? Is someone going to make a huge killing in the supply of Chewing Gum detectors, which might be now mandatory in all government offices ?

Will these go the way of the CCTV's installed everywhere, which mostly don't work when you want them to ?

But maybe, just maybe, the chewing gum drama has highlighted something good.

Turns out that there is also a chewing gum meant for people addicted to cigarette smoking. (Though the government has backtracked on its promise to display pictures of diseased organs and cancer on cigarette packs, under pressure of the Tobacco lobby). This is being used all over the world as Nicotine Replacement Therapy(NRT). But it is expensive in India, and not yet part of the Tobacco Control Program. A May 2011 (note the timing) news report says that the Union health ministry is planning to ask National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority to subsidize the price of nicotine chewing gums. We must be grateful for small things. Like chewing gum.

Don't know who manufactures it or what creative use will be thought of for this chewing gum.

Never thought there would be a Chewing Gum Crisis in government. But someone, somewhere has all the removed contraptions that were embedded in the 16 chewed pieces of gum stuck under the furniture in the Minister's Office.

Just wondering what's in those tapped conversations, and when someone might expose them.

Election time coming soon. Stay tuned for some sticky news.

P. S. Non political types wondering about artistic uses of spitting chewing gum, may see this .


  1. Interesting :)

  2. This just proves that politicians are nuts the world over. Imagine the time and money investigating chewing gum blobs. They really know how to stick it to you. ;-)

    While it may be useful as an adhesive,I would never use it for that. I'll stick to chewing it to keep my ears from plugging up when in a plane on a landing pattern.