Post 24, Sargana

8:30 a.m.: Shyamdev is setting up the shop as he had planned. I see him lining the window with packets of biscuits. Savitri, his wife, is inside the kiosk arranging other items, such as packets of chai leaves, garam masala (cooking spices), soaps (for bath as well as for laundry), chocolates and honey.

Amazed, I ask him whether his application for a loan was eventually approved. He shakes his head sadly and then says this is from his own savings, and a loan provided by his sister’s husband. The total cost of setting up the kiosk is INR 12000, of which the loan amounts to INR 5000.

“I have been saying for a long time that I want to set up this kiosk. It had become an obsession. I just had to do it,” he remarks.

Vinay Mandal passes by. Shyamdev invites him for chai. But Vinay says he has just drunk some and is in a hurry.

“Do you have to pay interest to your brother-in-law when you return him the principle?” I ask.

“Don’t be silly! He has to live here, doesn’t he,” Shyamdev replies, with a twinkle in his eye, as Savitri laughs