Post 30, Sargana

9:15 a.m.: Shyamdev Mandal stands by his yellow cycle outside a grocery store in the Sargana bazaar. He excitedly tells me his son Gyanesh will return this evening. He has already boarded the train from wherever he is, and is scheduled to reach Sargana by late evening today. The company has allowed him leave for about 6 weeks.

“Will he return to Kerala in November then?”

The enthusiasm evaporates from Shyamdev’s face, and he mutters, “Not if I can help it. I want him to re-sit his tenth board exams and pass them. After that, he can do what he wants to.”