Post 24, Abdullahpur Basti

7 p.m.: Rachit and I are at Hiralal’s room. Hiralal informs us that he had cleared his dues with Birjinder, and is not going to work at the mill any more.

“I asked Birjinder for a raise, and he refused. I earn Rs 8000 per month: I asked him to increase my pay by Rs 500 to Rs 1000. But he doesn’t think I am worth it. So I am not interested,” Hiralal says indignantly.

He turns to Rachit: You too should stop working for Birjinder. You will easily earn as much as Rs 14,000 in a place like Mumbai. Living costs are not as expensive as people say.

Rachit replies: Arre, I have been offered Rs 14,000 here in Ludhiana itself. Guddu, the man who sells vegetables in the kiosk down the road, told me about a job as a driver. Trouble is: I will also be expected to carry loads, which I don’t want to.

Hiralal continues to instigate Rachit: Look, one has to slog either way. You work bloody hard at Birjinder’s. If you have to slog, you might as well slog for the one who pays you more.

Hiralal then talks about his future plans. He will rent a room closer to his place of work, an ironworks factory where the working hours are from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. and employees receive a weekly holiday on Sunday.

Mevalal is not happy with Hiralal’s decision. After all, he had introduced Hiralal to Birjinder.