coconut As I slide gently, inexorably towards five-zero, my conversations, more and more, seem to take on a note of pontification. We could be talking about a movie, a dress, a dinner, a friend, and Dhanno will look at me and say, a little querulously, “Mama, are we now talking about life?” A cousin, a few months younger than me, just celebrated his 51st birthday, by the Gujarati calendar. This Gujarati calendar is a lunar calendar, but one specific to our community, which ensures that we are out of step with everyone else in the world, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai. And because it has 14 days lesser than the Gregorian calendar, the years pile on thicker and faster than they ought to. The thickness also comes from too much rich food, too much and too rich. The Gujarati birthday is marked by some apparently well-meaning people knocking you on the head with a dry coconut. The English birthday on the other hand, involves cake. It does not require too much deduction to surmise which birthday I am setting store by. So, yes, I am going to continue being 48 for as many days as I can, until the very last day. And then, I will be 49, in a week or so. And no, that does not mean, that I will be 50 running. Thank you very much. Meanwhile, there is always Maya. May you live for thousands of years. May each year have 50000 days.