Jaya wanted a set of gold bangles for her birthday. Sumit thought that was too extravagant.
All day she complained about his lack of consideration. Never once to him, but to her friends at work. "I mean, come on," she said in tones of deep frustration. "I get him whatever he wants before he even says the word. Can't he do this much for me?"
"Men, men," one of them said in a commiserating voice, but the girl quickly flashed a look, part gleeful, part gloating, at another woman in the circle.
"So anyway, nothing for me this birthday," Jaya sniffed. She looked balefully at the sabzi in her lunch box, then said, "Anyway he'll just forget the day. I'm not reminding him again this year."
So in a disturbed state of mind a full three weeks before her birthday, Jaya persuaded herself that her thirty third would be the worst birthday ever. In the history of birthdays. In the history of history, as Po would say.
On the morning of her birthday, Sumit was nowhere to be seen. She called his cellphone, but it rang in their bedroom. Wondering if he'd suddenly decided to get back to his exercise regimen, she glared at herself in the mirror as she brushed her teeth. If her mouth hadn't been so full of toothpaste, she might have screwed up her mouth and howled. My birthday and he's not even home.
Then he returned. In his work clothes. With a bouquet of red roses in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other. And as he took her in his arms and she laughed as he twirled her around the living room in a practiced dance, she closed her eyes and thought, "He really didn't get me bangles."