Soon, hundreds of women began to line up. The organisers gave each of them a bag of rice, tamarind, ginger, jaggery, stalks of sugarcane, a brand new cooking pot and a number telling them which fireplace they had been allotted.
Tiny flames lit up the road. The younger women were guided by the elder ones. The wave of pre-dawn camaraderie was broken briefly as the smoke brought itchy tears to everyone's eyes. But as the sun came up, everyone on 90 Feet Road said a silent prayers with folded hands and watched the sweetened rice boiled over just a little, a gesture acknowledging the abundance of the present and a fervent wish that it would continue in the year ahead.