Ranjona Banerji: Our ministers take the cake

Mar 08, 2017, 07:00 IST | Ranjona Banerji

You can't be Hindu and eat cakes on birthdays. But if you are Hindu, you are allowed to go to Pakistan and eat someone else's birthday cake

PM Modi visited Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on December 25, 2015. File pic
PM Modi visited Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on December 25, 2015. File pic

No matter what's happening in India and the world - deaths, disasters, demonetisation, decision review system, Donald (the), deportation - there are some dema­nding issues that continue to plague us and to which we cannot ever find a solution. These are troubling problems which are setting the human race and the world's greatest country (obviously, us) from being greater than we already are.

For instance, should Hindus eat cakes on their birthdays? I fear that you are not taking me seriously. But, think about it. This is a deep and debatable question. Is cake Hindu? If it is, is it Hindu enough? Is cake mentioned in any real ancient Hindu text or scripture? Is cake mentioned in any fake ancient Hindu text? When I say “cake”, do you imagine red velvet with butter cream icing or do you imagine handvo?

There are other problems here as well. Like birthday cake. Birthday cake is not just any cake that you might eat on any given day. It's the cake that is eaten only on birthdays. Now look at the first question again. The problem is cake-on-birthday, should Hindus eat it? If you do, maybe you are not a proper Hindu or even Hindu at all, poor you.

This is a vexing subject for Union Minister Giriraj Singh, who has stated that Hindus should not eat cakes on birthdays. They should go to temples instead. Maybe after that you can gorge on pakodas and jalebis. I sincerely hope that these food items are Hindu enough, though to be honest, I don't know.

Because there are still more Hindus than any other community in India - in spite of Union Minister Kiren Rijiju's fears - perhaps one can now safely believe that cake is anti-national because it is anti-Hindu.

However, even if you are Hindu you can go to Pakistan and eat someone else's birthday cake. This is called diplomacy and statecraft.

Then, there are women. Women are impossible creatures. Logic dictates that they must be controlled, used for child-bearing and even cake-making in some cultures. But in recent times, despite several attempts by many, the troublesome gender has evolved and they just rock every boat they can find.

Hormones, which only women are believed to have, are dangerous and that is why according to Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, young females, aged 16 or 17, are very “hormonally challenged” and, therefore, need to be locked into hostels for their own sake. To be fair, Gandhi also felt that boys need to be locked into hostels as well.

This poses a very difficult question for the human race and applies to us until Indian superiority is so well established that we are post-human. What science - damn the damn thing - sees as essential to the propagation of the species has now become what in the old days was known as a “handicap”. When someone is “hormonally challenged” it means that these hormones are not the norm and, therefore, anyone with hormones requires special help and care, which is best delivered through confinement.

It is possible that very superior Indians and/or Hindus who never eat birthday cake on their own birthdays do not have hormones and I am too ignorant to know that. I am also unsure about whether the issue pertains solely to hormones and if so, whether they can be banned the way cake may be banned. Is the fuss about females with hormones or just females?

Judging by past issues about women - as they keep harping about equal rights, seeking a voice, demanding freedom - I would hazard a guess that women are the hazard and hormones just add to the risk. Locking them up in a hostel at an early age may be a possible and plausible solution to check misbehaviour later in life.

There are several other burning issues that I have been forced to overlook for I spent too much time on hormones. These topics include Karan Johar's twins, something that happened at the Oscars and cricketers making very strange faces. I am tempted to blame red velvet and hormones because it is easy to decide that a combination of beetroot and testosterone can be disastrous.

But, of course, that would be a feminist argument overlooking the fact that the real devil is in oestrogen.

On which note, has anyone banned chocolate yet, in a cake or out of it? I'm just asking in a hormonally challenged sort of way.

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @ranjona. Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com

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