The Cake and The Sword

The Cake and The Sword

“Welcome, Lulu” I was cutting a guava when Lulu, my parrot, flew in. Lulu and I like guava.

“Kya baat hai!” Lulu dug his beak in a small piece of guava. He laughed seeing me hold a small knife.

Lulu, my parrot

“Why are you laughing Lulu? Everyone cuts fruits with a knife.”

“But not everyone cuts a cake with a sword!”

“Oh, come on, Lulu. Aren’t you referring to the news? Young men cut a cake with sword and police booked them for some offence when they saw the pictures on social media. Right?”

“You got it! Isn’t that interesting?”

“What is interesting about it? Men will be men. They will do such crazy things,”

“And did you not notice that the Queen Elizabeth cut a cake at the Big Lunch held on the sidelines of the G7 Summit?”

“Yes. I think it was about six months ago.”

“You are right. Let me ask you this – what does a sword symbolize?”

“Oh, we are trying to read too much in this small news. But to answer your question – power! A sword symbolizes power. And everything associated with it.”

“And what else?”

“More symbols? hmmm… well…. A sword has the cutting edge.”

“What does a cutting edge do?”

“You sound as if you are taking my class! But this is getting interesting. What does the cutting edge do? I associate cutting edge with intelligence. Well, it cuts things in two. Ha ha. Now I am enjoying this symbol game. It chops off the right from wrong, good from bad, desirable from undesirable and so one.”

“A sword is not a very flexible weapon. Lao-tzu said, “’Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible, Is a disciple of death, Whoever is soft and yielding, Is a disciple of life.’ Right? And what does a cake represent?”

“For me cake means celebration. Birthdays, anniversaries, marriages! They all celebrate by cutting a cake. It is soft and yielding! Ha, ha!!”

“So true. A cake symbolizes emotions, positive emotions. Happiness. In a marriage it indicates togetherness, sweetness and love. That is why usually first action after cake-cutting is to feed a small piece of cake to your partner.”


“The men on street used a sword to cut the cake. They shifted attention from cake to sword; from celebration to display of power. Such vulgar display instils fear. It sends a veiled threatening message to the onlookers.”

“And what will you say about the Queen cutting the cake with a sword?”

“Take a good look at the video. She wanted to have a little fun. And the ninety-plus Queen could not even handle the sword well. Nobody was threatened there.”

“Same act but contexts are different.”

“Yes. But take a note. The street-bhais with their indiscriminate and dangerous use of a sword also symbolized what is happening today all over the world.”

“Now what’s that, Lulu?”

“Those in power like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and I can count a dozen more leaders, are killing positivity, celebration, love, compassion in the society – everything that the cake symbolizes – with their power, I mean the sword.”

“Power is a great aphrodisiac, Kissinger said, and how true it is. Oh, Did you say leaders are killing positivity, love and compassion?”

That’s the symbolic interpretation of the news. Such small events reflect the state of your world,” Lulu finished his portion of the guava. He moved on to nibble chilies. “Do you get me?”

Vivek S Patwardhan

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

Feature Pic courtesy David Holifield on Unsplash, Pic courtesy Krys Amon on Unsplash