What is a birthday celebration without a cake? Can anyone actually celebrate a birthday without a cake? A cake has become so much synonymous with the birthday celebrations in India that it is impossible to think about the latter without the former.
Our twin daughters have been to a number of birthday celebrations in the neighbourhood. Without an exception, cakes have been a common element across all the celebrations. I do not suppose, it would be any different for adults either. It is a universally accepted norm across sections in India.
In such a scenario, what is the need to re-invent the wheel? Why come up with a counter-narrative that birthday celebrations are better off without cakes?
Celebration with Healthy and Not Un-Healthy
I am in for celebrations of all kinds. Just a small niggle, though. Why should celebrations that too, of a birthday, entail un-healthy cakes? A birthday celebration is an occasion to cherish, an event to treasure and how do we celebrate it? We do so by consuming mounds of refined flour, sugar, chocolate, cream, vegetable oil – also popularly known as cake.
Somewhere, somehow, I feel, my daughters are making a connection in their formative minds that the celebrations mean to eat un-healthy stuff – cakes, deep-fried chips, canned juices etc. This is what they get to eat at all the birthday celebrations, anyways.
I find it difficult to believe that we, humans, actually celebrate by eating what is detrimental to our own health. If anyone believes that deep-fried chips, canned juices in general and cakes, in particular, are healthy, then it is a different case altogether.
A celebration is just a one-off instance to indulge
It can be said that a birthday comes once a year. So, if a person parties with a cake, what is the big deal? Can’t a person just enjoy even once a year? It surely does not make a big issue if a person wants to indulge once in a while.
I cannot comment about the adults, but I know a bit about the children around. How many times would they be consuming chocolates, canned juices and deep-fried chips in a week? Take a wild guess. If this the status of indulgence on a regular basis, why the case for an indulgence once in a while?
Similarly, what would be the frequency for a child to be consuming raw vegetables, fruits, sprouts etc. What would be the relative frequency of these eatables in comparison? What should actually register for a one-off chance to get included in a birthday celebration? You can take your pick.
Anti-cake is being a kill-joy
What has got a cake to do with a celebration? Is it the only way to enjoy and make an event worth-while? Come on, it is not the cake but the people who attend that counts. Everybody knows it. Yet, the cake is the first to make a reservation at the birthday party.
The size of the cake is not the measure of fun. One can argue that in that case, why have anything to eat? Well, that is not the point. We do require stuff to eat. Just that, this particular stuff can be healthy, as well.
I refuse to equate cake with having fun at the birthday celebration.
Cakes are monotonous, Yet
People get bored. People want change. It is difficult to tie down people with the same set of norms. We as human beings evolve and crave for change. Yet, in this particular instance, cakes have no challenger whatsoever.
I mean, how can anyone and everyone conjure up celebration in the same repetitive manner year after year? That too, when everyone around, also do their own celebrations in the same manner. We end up eating cakes all year round.
Yet, we do not find it boring. This is really fascinating. There is some lesson which I cannot decipher.
My daughters will have cake, nonetheless
I know this. There is not much of a chance, no chance actually, against the all-round onslaught of consumerism. The cake is a manifestation of what we are told to do and we do so unflinchingly.
It is difficult to stand up against the might of chocolate and sugar. The popular culture worships them, and I know we are the devotees.
What would be your views on this subject?
I am trying to come up with some options to celebrate a birthday without a cake. Let us see, how it unfolds.
PS: The above is my personal opinion basis the dietary and nutritional issues I have with cake. It has got nothing to do with religion, culture and whatsoever else.