A Birthday Cake Story

I love birthdays; my own tops the chart. Come December and I start tingling with this crazy anticipation. The feeling is sweeter than the first sugar rush of a hot gulab jamun on a cold winter night. Or a cake.

I remember the first year I was in college. Surrounded by my new friends and under pressure to make my birthday an evening to remember, my best friend Chow and I tasted pastries at every bakery to finalize the cake. We were young and never counted calories. Instead, we counted pennies that we saved by not taking a bus.

Anyway, I remember painstakingly writing the details – my name , address , date, time and the advance I paid. The man promised to have it delivered punctually at the hostel for Sheetal. On that fateful day, the girls back in the hostel were sick with excitement. The thought of digging into a luscious cake (we really sold it) was going to be epic.

By evening, the room was chockablock. The guest list was exclusive but news of the cake had filtered quietly. In the midst of giggles, cheers and gossip, snacks that were hidden pulled out, biscuits passed around and namkeen packets ripped open. We all waited. There were no mobile phones then and Swiggy, the word was nonexistent.

Dusk turned into night and a nervous anticipation filled the room. Where the hell was the cake? The group roused up to walk to the gate. Perhaps the guard was holding it and who knows, eating it. Long story short, the cake was not there and it never came.

Overhead view of a candle in a round glass lamp
Make a wish!

We had to wait for the next Sunday to take the bakery man to task. College was more like school and our outings then were restricted to only weekends.

Burning with indignation and injustice on being denied a birthday cake, I was all fire and brimstone. The baker was puzzled; the delivery had been made to a Sheetal as promised. He was even handed the balance of payment on delivery.

Ok! Who took the delivery?”

“Some boys at the Boy’s School.”

Are you kidding? The address says Girl’s College. How could you send the cake to a boy’s school knowing Sheetal is a girl’s name?” I could feel my voice cracking under the strain, each note an octave higher.

But Sheetal is a boy’s name too“, he replied sheepishly.

That day I discovered, Sheetal was a unisex name and a common one in this particular town.


Anyway, apologies followed but that was ‘The year of No Birthday Cake’.

Next year, same ocassion (my birthday), same college and the same bakery. In my defence, no one made a more delicious, melt in the mouth cake. Chow and I had the whole year to sample the wares of all the other bakeries in town. This time the birthday was on a Sunday and we were determined to personally pick it up. Trust issues had sprung up!

Luckily the day was sunny, perfect for a walk down the picturesque road to accomplish that simple task of collecting the cake and grabbing some piping hot parathas at a roadside dhaba. Then the day took a turn for another unforgettable adventure. Suffice to say it involved three musketeers, a wheezing old steed, crisp mountain air, ambling through a pine forest and some incredibly inspired conversations.

Now that’s a story for another time.

Oh! We came back safely to the hostel with the cake intact. We had the promised celebration and it was epic.

I told you, I loved birthdays. They are magical .

Wine in a glass, toasting to the sun

Lens- Artists Challenge : You pick it!


19 thoughts on “A Birthday Cake Story

  1. First of all: A very happy birthday to you. I am ready to wait for the elusive cake; the bakeries in Dehradun are pretty good.
    A story FULL magical moments of anticipations…it’s the journey that matters, not the destination, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved your story this week Sheetal – what a fun memory! I can just imagine your indignation as well as the fun the boys must have had eating your yummy cake. That you went back to the same bakery the following year was the biggest surprise of all!!! Wishing you many more fun memories on birthdays to come!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Tina for your wishes. 😊

      Going back to the same bakery was proof that a good product wins, no matter how bad the service is. Also they were lucky to be around when Social media did not exist, else they would have been annihilated.πŸ˜„

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Happy Birthday Sheetal…….you brought back the best memories of our college.
    I fondly remember all the cool times of the college years and YOU … best buddy
    Well written

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy birthday – and thank you for the treat! Your storytelling skills made me wait for that cake too. And yes, a good product wins – but with social media it might not always…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ulli is also a unisex first name in German, short form of Ulrich (male) and/or Ulrike (female), both awful. The short form is really used by both genders, and it is very funny cause foreigners don’t know the gender when they simply read the name for example here. At least two bloggers here on WP were sure that I must be female what is not the case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ulli, for responding to my post. I didn’t know that Ulli was unisex or a short form of two name either. For me it was always a male name.
      Thanks to you, my knowledge of Germany, its people, language and landmarks grow beyond Boris Becker, Bayern Munich and the Berlin Wall. Have a great day. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Much too late with my birthday wishes so I don’t deserve a share of cake, Sheetal. When anyone had a birthday in my last workplace they had to buy cream cakes for everyone. A disaster on the waistline and the pocket πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is nothing known as late birthday wishes, Jo. Receiving yours make me feel as special today as I did then. Thank you πŸ™‚
      And as for cakes … channeling Marie Antoinette, “Let them eat cake!” Sound better on birthdays and tastes yummy too.

      Liked by 1 person

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