In the afternoon, my daughter wished me a happy birthday on the phone and then asked, have you brought the cake? ” My answer was, “No, I don’t celebrate birthdays by cutting cakes. I like my Indian culture. Today we will prepare Millet and Sesame Ladoos at home only. Why should I imitate the west?” The tradition of celebrating birthdays by cake cutting is years old in our country. But in the last few years a very absurd trend has been observed. That is to rub or smash the cake on the face of the birthday boy or girl. Not only the face of the birthday person, even his/ her costly clothes are spoiled. It is understandable if children and teenagers do such a silly thing, but often older people also post such pictures on Facebook or Instagram, then it is surprising and confusing. Such scenes are also seen in newspaper offices even in the birthday celebration of a fellow journalist.
Whenever I wanted to know from the youth celebrating birthdays like this, why do they do this, I never got a satisfactory answer. It is often said that everyone does this so we are doing it. What’s wrong with that? Some time ago a video of a woman went viral on social media, in which a sharp wooden pin was pricked near her eyelid. It was her birthday and her friends rubbed her face on the cake. In the middle of the multilayer cake were a few wooden pins, which pierced the woman’s face and injured her eye. Secondly, why waste a nice cake like this? One cake can satisfy the hunger of many children. If someone rubs a cake on my face like this, there can be a fight. Before the Covid pandemic, in a city of Gujarat, the police had issued a warning that if the incident of cake smashing was seen late at night in a public place like a road or park, then action would be taken under section 144.
Who first started this dirty tradition of cake smashing on the face? No one has the correct answer to this question. But in the last ten years this practice has been seen more in the USA. There, when the baby’s first birthday is celebrated, a soft and colourful cake is placed in front of the child, so that he tastes sugars and refined food for the first time and starts taking solid food. The pictures of the occasion fill the child’s parents with joy. This logic is understandable, but in India, a lot of young and middle-aged people do cake smashing like monkeys, which is beyond comprehension. By the way, the industry of making and selling cakes is on continuous growth. During the last lockdown, many people in the country ordered 1.25 lakh cakes at their homes. This information has come out from a survey. A survey conducted by a home delivery company revealed that even amid safety concerns during the COVID 19 pandemic, people were ordering their favourite food items online. The survey revealed that 1,29,000 choco lava cake orders were registered. It was followed by Gulab Jamun and Butterscotch Cake.
Narvijay Yadav is a senior journalist & columnist.