If you had tried calling me at work between 3 30 and 4 this week, you wouldnt have been able to reach me. My team had decided to celebrate everyone’s birthday with a short cake cutting ceremony, and turns out half the team is born on various days of this very week. (I’ve often wondered how I landed a tech job that involved quite a bit of engineering knowledge, none of which I possessed, well now you know how)
Anyway, these birthday celebrations have turned out to be very sticky affairs. In college, we would have contended to kick the unfortunate birthday boy’s backside sore, and leaving him for sometime to ruminate the point of being born at all before dragging him off later to treat us (unless he preempted us by taking a bunch of girls out first). Unfortunately in the formal confines of the office environment, such activities are not easy to undertake. The cake is cut in the middle of most of the cubicles that house my team and is surrounded by several dozen other cubes, so the initial gathering makes of several nervous jokes in a low volume about kicking the person concerned (not likely to be carried out as his health might be critical to reducing your workload or to put in a word when the question of a pay raise comes up).
At this point in time, I generally stick around at a distance not too far from the cake that I cant grab a piece before its over, but not too close to the crowd that I have to make conversation. You see we have a large team, and though there were some introductions when we joined, some of the faces didnt quite register. So I try to maintain a safe distance while all the nervous conversation before the cake is cut is going on, in case someone asks me whose birthday it was. The cake cutting itself is a muted affair with a couple of people muttering ‘happy birthday’, but not too loudly to disturb those others who’re actually earning the company some money. I always strain myself to hear the name of the person, but havent had much success so far.
However the act of cutting the cake settles beyond doubt whose birthday it is, so even if I dont know the person’s name, target having been identified, I manage to greet him/her. At this point they may also be surprised to hear a random voice in the crowd advising them to ‘promote Sudharsan that, hard working boy’.
(Ha, just kidding)
And then of course I dig into the cake. And boy is it worth the awkward wait. We’ve had mousse, brownies, black forests and fresh cream cakes in the space of a week. After each birthday, its getting tougher to climb up the stairs to my cube. I think the sentiment of the whole thing is captured beautifully by Saif in Dil Chahta Hai when he says “Hum cake ke liye kuch bhi karenge”.
And that is the inspiration behind the title. Not some Zee TV serial.