Post 34, Abdullahpur Basti

6 p.m.: At Kamal flour mill Ambika and Mewalal are preparing sacks for delivery. They are joined today by Dasharath Sahh has just arrived in Ludhiana from his village near Muzaffarpur: his brother works in Abdullahpur. He is about 21 years old. As he is settling in, Dashrath is sharing the room with Mevalal and eating his dinner at Vishnu’s.

Birjinder’s brother is at the counter. He rings a bell to call one of the workers to the counter. As soon as he hears the bell, Mevalal hurries over to the counter. Ambika scoffs:

Each time I hear that bell, I feel like whopping him across the face. Does he think we are sitting idle, not doing any work?

Ambika continues: “He is good-for-nothing. It is his brother Birjinder who does everything for the mill: meeting customers, talking to suppliers, managing workers- everything. This man is useless.”

Vishnu returns from his deliveries and prepares for the next round. He loads almost 80 sacks, each weighing about 10 kilograms onto Mansharam’s auto. Needless to say, he looks exhausted.