March 5, 2012

Yappie yappie byerthdaai

Birthday celebrations in my office- or rather, of the team that I’m remotely a part of- are very jolly affairs you know. Like, fun in all caps.



Here’s how it usually goes.

There I’ll be, working/sleeping/browsing away at my desk, when someone will come and inform “Divya, so-and-so’s birthday today. Cake cutting in pantry. Come.” So I get up after ten minutes and three reminders, and go to the pantry, all set for a mini-party.

There will be about 15 people there, all solemnly standing, like how we used to stand in school during Martyr’s Day, observing one-minute silence. Heads slightly bent downward, hands tied in the front. You got the picture no? Some of them will be looking at the floor, some at the cake. So I’ll also join this merry group. The person whose birthday it is will be recognizable only because he/she will be standing in front of the cake, not because they look even remotely excited that it’s their birthday and that a bunch of people ordered cake for him/her. After standing like this for two minutes, someone in the crowd will try to crack a sad joke, asking the birthday boy/girl/uncle to cut the cake. So out comes one shiny plastic see-through knife, with a red bow around it.

First cut through the cake- silence.

Second cut through the cake- silence.

Once the first piece has been successfully cut, someone from the audience will remember and start a feeble rendition of “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you”. So lively is the singing that it’ll seem as though the song was originally a mourning song and somewhere over the years, someone swapped the lyrics. We’ll all clap also, for formality. We all have mehendi on our hands, so we can’t clap all that loudly and all, ok.

Then the birthday person will look for the nearest mouth to thrust the cake into. Since no one’s really close to anyone in the group, the most senior person there gets this honour. If that boss type person is not there, then whoever is standing closest gets lucky.

Now comes the best part. Small paper plates are passed around, with cake and potato chips. For the next five minutes, all you can hear is *munch munch crunch crunch random conversation munch crunch nice cake crunch crunch*. I’m not exaggerating. All you can hear is the crunch of the potato chips. And everyone’s looking studiously into their plates, because, you know, there’s a difficult maze to work your way around to get to the goodies. Since there is no conversation happening, everyone finishes their plate soon and looks around. You remember how, when you’re writing as exam and you finish early, you always wait for someone else to give in the paper first, just so it doesn’t make you look bad? Same scene here. Everyone waits for someone else to go take the second helping of cake and chips. More often than not, that person would be me. Ya, I can be shameless like that. Then a second round of potato-chips crunching. Once in a while, if you happen to catch someone’s eye by accident, customary smiles are also exchanged.

Oh I forgot to mention- the cake facial also happens. And while the facial is being done, the birthday person will be standing there with no expression or reaction whatsoever- no protest, no laughing, no struggle. Just merely standing there, as though it’s not cake but haldi-&-cream that’s being applied for their wedding.
Second round of eating also over. Now unless you want to seem like a glutton, you decide not to take a third helping. So there really is no point in hanging around anymore either, right? So I look at the birthday person, give a big smile, wish happy birthday, crack the same joke I crack every single time about how we’re all eating but forgot to wish the person (which, surprisingly elicits, the same kind of painful laughter every time), and scoot from there.

Total fun, right? I know.

So then why do I go to these ‘parties’, when it’s so much fun (NOT), you ask?

Because, like Saif Ali Khan once said, “Cake khaane ke liye hum kaheen bhi jaa sakte hai!”

51 comments:

  1. I've been through the same drill the last couple of years - only difference is the change in social group being classmates or floor mates.

    Loved the 'waiting for someone to go first so that you don't end up looking stupid' analogy - I swear I did that even last week both at the exam and at someone's birthday.

    Awesome one Spiffy.

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  2. bleheheh...
    you should come to me department bday celebration wogay..it be riot only...everybody be yelling and screaming and hooting...madness only.
    "cake facial" beeegg ceremony. nicely we remove all frustration of every single bleh-ness in our lives on zat person. poor thing. bday turns into nightmare..blahaha..
    sigh..don't remember of cake eating wokay..a few colleagues and i always end up distributing ze cake and ze wafers to all and sundry and then we eat at the end..
    pfftt..oooo...by ze way...we also give nice gift and card to bday boy/girl/uncle/aunty
    thats y i look forward to me bday..gahahhaa..
    fun no...

    sigh...

    PS-aaaan...m so used to ur presence in me life Dei..
    god bless Whatsapp
    blahhahaa..
    cheers :)

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  3. Hahaha.. can sooo relate to u.. we sooo do the same solemn ritual too :)

    Till I devised this whole new plan.. since we have like bout a million people working in our office n most of all the bday parties happen at some corner of the huge canteen, I jump into every random party that is around and I am usually the loudest n most cheerful guy singing the song.. the other ppl think I'm some jigri dost of the bday guy since I'm soo cheerful while the bday guy doesn't wanna feel awkward tht he doesnt know the most enthu guy around so he'd convince himself tht I'm possibly some guy in the bigger team.... end result - I get to take third n fourth helpings of the cake without an ounce of shame or guilt :)

    Works like a charm... :D

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    1. You know, I have absolutely no doubt that you would do something like this. :P

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  4. haha....Then office parties I heard of are much better! My man complains that his office birthday parties are not fun! But they have buffet (not lunch) proper snack with chinese and italian food, they get gifts too....once meal vouchers for Rs.2000, once a huge thali of almonds along with rochers chocolate. Not to forget the bouquet that comes home every year, even on anniversary!

    Still he complains :/ Men!!!

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    1. Buffet snacks? Gift vouchers worth 2000? Where DOES he work exactly?? :/

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  5. It sounds so much of fun :|!! Why do you even celebrate the birthdays then!!

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  6. so funny.. and so totally true...

    In our office, we sometimes have birthday bumps too (in the office terrace, and just before EOD, so that the poor guy does not have to work with a sore behind and can leave for home soon after)...Of course, only boys are subject to that treatment, although girls get a chance to kick their butts. Even though I do not wish to ever kick a girl, this sounds kinda unjust sometimes...hmm

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    Replies
    1. Because if they give birthday bumps to girls at the workplace, it might just translate into a sexual harrasment lawsuit. :/

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  7. Haha.. But still i have to say your office is full of some boringass people. :P

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  8. *smiling and nodding full-time while reading the post because I just gladly realised that the plot & script of 'office budday parties' is pretty much the same everywhere*
    And I thought this phenomenon was restricted to my office alone. The joy of being enlightened ! Good one Divya !

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  9. And that's why birthdays are so much fun:D

    This is classic Spiff, do we take it that you're back in full form? :P

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  10. Oh the cake facial :P
    Hhehehehehe How I hate being the statue :D
    Happy Birthday belated! to tht office frnd

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    Replies
    1. I hate the cake facial thing! Especially if it gets on my glasses. SO difficult to wash off. :(

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  11. Whoa! Sounds super-boring. If I worked in your office, I'd probably bunk on my birthday :D

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    1. :D I wish I could too, but the cake is good you know. :P

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  12. Thank you for making me laugh this morning or should I say afternoon as it is now 12.06pm.......lol

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  13. That was such a hilarious description Spiff!!

    Enjoyed reading it...

    What happens in our office is the exact opposite though....full of laughter, screaming and madness... :D :D :D

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  14. May be you should join my company.They torture you only once a month.We have community birthday party on the last friday of every month.

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    Replies
    1. Seriously. That would be so much better no.

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  15. Hahaha..... this is so typical!! Absolutley the way I have seen bdays being celebrated in offices !! Good one, spiff!

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  16. This is one of those things that's so common that you hardly give it second thought and when someone mentions it, you go "holy cannoli, you are right!!!". You just hit the nail in its head.

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  17. My old office had all these plus a forced treat that the birthday Bakra has to pay for. I used to positively dread my birthdays and since I don't really like cake much, used to skip most of the other birthday parties too.. But sadly that didn't stop people from hogging at mine...

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    1. Oh those forced treats are the worst. :/

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  18. Bwahahahahahaaaaaaa xD
    Thanks for sharing this, made me laugh!
    x

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  19. Hehe! I've heard of such Bday parties, as you described 'em. But atleast in our project, it's a more cheerful affair. There's noise, leg-pulling, cake smearing - all in good fun! Methinks the crowd matters a lot. Why don't you start the trend of 'light-hearted' Bday celebs, instead of the grave ones you're having now?

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    Replies
    1. Like you said, the crowd matters. I'm not close to anyone here at work except two-three people. When their b'days come, we have good fun. But the rest of the crowd.. Nah, not so much.

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  20. Somehow, the setting in which I read this post made it all the more hilarious. Pin drop silence in the office and some occasional fake laughter from the conference room! :D
    We don't have b'day celebrations yet but the festival celebrations are not as hilarious though just 10-15 mins long. I guess it's all to do with the kind of people...

    And hey, I was cracking up over here in my office. Thanks! :D

    PS: Please allow Name/URL, no? :(

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    1. Err, it's not allowed now kya? How do I allow it, if not? :/ Let me figure it out, ok na?

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  21. So to this, please add - poor plant eating folks like me stand in one corner looking at the chicken puffs and the pork balls. I am not close to anyone here, actually no indian or interesting folks( if i am not called racist for saying this). So typical!

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    Replies
    1. The plant-eating folks can eat the potato chips no. :)

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  22. Office does this to you, doesn't it? Turns you into joyless creatures, jo cake khane kahin bhi pahunch jaate hai :D

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  23. oh yes cake ke liye kahin bhi jayega , god know how many parties i have been too.. I have sometimes gone to parties which are not even of our office :)

    you can well imagine I can eat a lot :)

    Bikram's

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  24. I was in a team of 70 (yes huge team!) so almost every week we had two birthdays! I already dislike birthdays and these stupid so called 'parties' have managed to make that dislike grow into hatred.
    And how I hate that cake facial!! Urrgghh! Luckily I've managed to escape every single time. And if God forbid someone does that to me... he/she will be brutally murdered the very next second!

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    1. I hate the cake facial thingy! So messy! And what a waste of perfectly good caake. :/

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  25. LOL! This is so true and the boredom continues! :) I'm following you! :)

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