The social media went into overdrive on Monday after US President Barack Obama was seen openly removing a piece of chewing gum and popping it right back into his mouth at the Republic Day parade, where he was the chief guest.
Obama has been dependent on nicotine gum since he quit smoking. But the media labeled it as an ‘ungainly act’ after he was seen chomping away when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to explain something to him.
The president was also chided by international media, which termed the act as a ‘diplomatic faux pas’.
The picture that went viral on social media received many reactions, a mix of shock and humour.
Comments on Twitter included remarks by author Shobhaa De, who said, "Barack bhai working his jaws overtime and chewing gum! At least it isn't gutka. But seriously - gum during a formal parade?".
Barack bhai working his jaws overtime and chewing gum! At least it isn't gutka. But seriously - gum during a formal parade?— Shobhaa De (@DeShobhaa) January 26, 2015
Obama appears to be enjoying parade, shown on Indian television bobbing his head with the music. Seems to be chewing gum, probably Nicorette— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) January 26, 2015
Obama removed gum from his mouth. Keep a close watch on him and make sure he doesn't stick it under the chair.— Local Tea Party (@localteaparty) January 26, 2015
Barack Obama's gum-chewing in India called "ungainly sight" http://t.co/UFPeRbUnM7— POLITICO (@politico) January 27, 2015
Haha. You thought Obama was chewing gum? He was secretly talking to CIA & FBI guys all the while and you thought he was chewing gum!— Roflindian 2.0 (@Roflindian) January 26, 2015
This is not the first time the US President's gum chewing habit has landed him in a sticky situation. Obama was seen chewing gum during his recent visit to China, where chewing gum is viewed as a sign of disrespect. Chinese bloggers attacked Obama for his unsightly habit, with some saying that he looked like a "hip hop artist" while others condemning his action, calling it a sign of disrespect.
He was again seen repeating this habit during the first plenary session at the G20 summit in Brisbane last November.