Post 12, Sargana

10:30 a.m.: I walk towards the kiosk owned by Tarun Vishwas, where he sells grocery items and also some stationary. I am with his neighbour Madhu Sharan. He tells me about the neighbourhood to the south of his kiosk, where members of the Rajput community live: “They think they are higher than us. But we don’t believe in caste hierarchies.” Pointing to the skies, he says, “Uparwala (literally: the being above, a reference to a supreme creator) has made us all human. Uparwala does not differentiate between humans. It is here, on earth, that human beings create the differences between themselves.”

The three of us sit on the stone steps leading into the kiosk. As we chat about our respective families, Tarun’s son Gabloo strides up past us and picks up the newspaper at the kiosk counter. He then proceeds to sit on the wooden chair by the counter. Madhu Sharan promptly remarks:

“Do you see how young people today don’t care about respect. Just look at the way this boy is sitting on a chair while his elders are beneath him.”

Tarun chimes in and talks about his fear of speaking in the presence of his father.

Gabloo remains absorbed in the newspaper. Tarun changes the topic of conversation to the elected judiciary.

11:00 a.m.: I see Shyamdev Mandal come into view. He is wearing white-coloured shirt and cream-coloured trousers, and riding his yellow cycle. We greet one another. Shyamdev has been busy the last few days not with transplanting but with trying to obtain a loan to start up a kiosk in front of his house, where he will sell grocery items. He hopes the income from the sales will supplement the meagre income from the farm and the more substantial remittance from Gyanesh.

If the loan does not materialise, he says he will go to either Delhi or Mumbai.