Post 33, Sargana

8:45 a.m.: Shyamdev Mandal cycles towards Sargana hatia. He informs me his son Gyanesh is at home, guessing accurately that I am looking for him. At Shyamdev Mandal’s residence, however, his daughter tells me that Gyanesh has gone out to meet friends. She asks me to wait.

9:30 a.m.: Gyanesh rides into the compound of his hut on a red-coloured Bajaj Discover motorcycle, with his friend riding pillion. He is wearing a yellow striped shirt while his friend a T-shirt. Both wear jeans. Neither has a helmet. Gyanesh steps down from the bike and waves to me, indicating that we go inside the shop adjacent to the hut. His friend leaves. Gyanesh spits out the betel leaf and tobacco flakes he has been chewing as he takes his place at the counter of the shop, asking his sister to step aside. She promptly obliges and disappears down the road. He begins to tell me about his work in Kerala.

10 a.m.: Gyanesh decides he wants to dry out the jute fibre his family have harvested the previous week. He continues to chat while he sweeps the compound clean before he lays out the fubre. The jute crop was harvested a month ago, soon after Ganesh had returned.

The plant was cut and tied into bundles. Sheafs of jute stock were then immersed in the nearby pond for nearly three weeks: the bark was peeled yesterday after which the fibre was removed. It is now time for the fibre to be spread out in the sunlight so it can dry.