5 p.m.: Rachit has had an easier day today than the last few days have been. Ambika has recovered from his illness and returned to work. He even managed to sleep a few extra hours in the morning.
Both the grinding machines in Kamal flour mill are operational today. Vishnu is preparing a 50-kg delivery for a client at a dhaba (roadside eatery) nearby. The vegetable vendor Bhullan complains of a plunge in his sales after demonetisation was introduced.
Rachit asks me to accompany him to the Guddu’s vegetable shop, where he purchases two kilograms of tomatoes. We hear from the television news of a train accident near Kanpur, where 145 people are suspected dead.
8:00 p.m.: Bablu is sitting in his room with his nephew Rakesh and son Ranjit. They arrived yesterday by train. They are eating their dinner: rice with scrambled egg fried in oil, accompanied with alcoholic drinks. Earlier today, the mill owner Birjinder allowed Bablu and Ambika to sell some scrap iron, the proceeds from which have been used to buy the alcohol. Bablu’s nephew works in a factory that manufactures sewing machines. The son worked in Ludhiana a few months ago, then went back to their village in Gaya for a few months, and has now returned to Ludiana where he will look for work.