12 noon: I join Shyamdev Mandal on the machan in his courtyard. He contemplates the little mound of paddy on the floor of the courtyard. These are his wife, Savitri’s wages: she worked for a farmer in the neighbourhood the last few days and has received the grain as per the standard in-kind wage rate. For every nine bundles of paddy harvested, labourers receive one. Shyamdev Mandal scoffs when I ask him what they intend to do with the grain:
“There’s not much in there, is there? We’ll be cooking it of course”.