A Petition to Stop the Cake-Smashing Ritual on Birthdays

Grub

A Petition to Stop the Cake-Smashing Ritual on Birthdays

Illustration: Arati Gujar

L

ike most Indian children, I grew up listening to my grandmother’s highly improbable stories about food. Some – like when she’d get us to eat eggplant by claiming it was starfish – were her own creations. But some were generic nuggets of wisdom passed down by Indian grandmothers at large, like for every grain of rice I left on the plate, my karma would be to pick them up with my eyelids.

The moral of this gruesome old wives’ tale is evident: Wasting food is a grave sin. Especially if you live in India where malnutrition is real, poverty isn’t just a state of mind, and paisa-vasooli is a way of life. And yet, this is also a country where people buy an extra birthday cake, just to smash it gleefully in some unfortunate soul’s face. What gives?

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