The cake’s end.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a starving Delhi man in want of sugar will always head to Wenger’s Cake Shop in Connaught Place. The capital’s best patisserie is loved by Delhiwallas across the generations.
A true Wenger’s aficionado should ideally be able to recite not only the names of all the 70 varieties of pastries, 25 varieties of bread and 22 varieties of chocolates there, but also of the old-time staffers. There is assistant manager Ashok Gupta, salesman Randheer Sharma, the peon Gambux, the confectioner Daya Kishan, and the “English cook” Udai Singh, who died years ago but is still fondly remembered.
The preceding passage is lifted from a detailed dispatch The Delhi Walla prepared a year or so ago in which I’d talked of everyone and everything related to Wenger’s—from its founders to future inheritors, from its longtime staffers to longtime customers. You can see it in full here.
It turns out, however, that I missed out on one key element that, too, makes the world of Wenger’s.
One evening after consuming my daily quota of a slice of butterscotch cake, I stepped out of the bakery and saw a man quietly picking up Wenger’s pastry boxes from a trash bin. The cake shop’s two instantly recognizable cherubic icons floated on the top of each paper box. The man disposed off the leftover creamy stuff from the boxes with his bare hands back into the bin. After carefully unfolding the empty boxes, he flattened each into a straight sheet, and finally, he piled all of them one upon another.
“I’m Raju,” he said. “I will now go to a garbage collection center near New Delhi railway station where I will sell this stack for twenty rupees.”
The man then walked away.
After we are done