Apart from this, Aarti had also meticulously assembled silly memorabilia from school. She had the class VII timetable, on which she drew horns above the maths classes. She had tickets from the school fete we had in class IX. She had pasted the restaurant bill from the first time we had gone out in class X. She had torn a page from her own slam book, done in class VIII, in which she had put my name down as her best friend. She ended the scrapbook with the following words: 'Life has been a wonderful journey so far with you. Looking forward to a future with you - my soulmate. Happy birthday, Gopal!' I had reached the end. On the back cover, she had calligraphed 'G & A' in large letters. I wanted to call her, that was my first instinct. I wanted to tell her how amazing I found her present. She must have spent weeks on it... I opened the cake box. The chocolate cake had squished somewhat, but I could make out the letters: 'Stolen: My cake and then my heart,' it said in white, sugary icing, with 'Happy birthday, Gopal' inscribed beneath it. I pushed the cake box away. The clock struck twelve. 'Your birthday is over, Gopal,' I said loudly to the only person in the room.