Komal hated this time of the year. Everybody seemed to have something exciting planned for the night and seemed over-eager to share their plans with her. She sulked at the thought of going through the annual ritual for the 30th year of her life – Shammi Chacha and Pummi Chachi would arrive by dusk. Pummi Chachi would get carrot halwa for the party; hadn’t the birthday girl always loved it? Ma would make aaloo matar and Papa would make a trip to the baker’s for the bread. Daadi would be glued to her rocking chair watching TV; lately Daadi didn’t care much about visitors. Anju and Manju bua would come with their clichéd gift - a horrid colored suit-piece. The gift would be later given to St. Martha’s Church’s Easter charity. Post dinner, Papa would play the ‘BoneyM Hits’ LP record and they would urge Komal to dance, while they simply clapped with a wondrous-lovey look in their eyes. She was the only child in the family and how she hated that - especially on her birthday that fell on New Years Eve…..