Post 12, Ludhiana

5:30 p.m.: Rachit and I talk briefly on the phone. He tells me he is doing all the deliveries for the flour mill today, and has been out on deliveries since 12 mid-day.

6:30 p.m.: I am by the entrance to the Flour Mill, chatting with fruit vendor Shyam Snehi. Rachit drives in the delivery autorickshaw, along with Ambika Prasad, who works at the mill with Vishnu and Hiralal. Ambika Prasad gets off at the mill, while Rachit tells me he has one last delivery to make, and will join me in a few minutes.

Ambika and I walk into the mill. Hiralal is packing the flour into 10-kg delivery bags. His shirt is powdered with flour. Visnhu arrives at the same time, from Harjinder’s second mill next door. His black shirt is almost white. He starts sewing the mouths of the bags that Hiralal has filled.

6:45 p.m.: A client has arrived at the counter, where Harjinder is presently managing. The client pays Brijinder, who scribbles the quantity of flour the client has paid for on a piece of paper. The client brings over the piece of paper into the room where we are sitting. Hiralal takes a look at the figure, and weighs out the flour as appropriate, packs up the flour in a delivery bag and hands it over to the client.

7:10 p.m.: Rachit returns from his deliveries. He tells me he has found his brother’s address, which is in his phone. He takes out his Samsung Android, retrieves the address from the memo app in which he has stored it, and sends it over to me via whatsapp.

He heads out to his room to bathe, and will join us in a little while, he says.


8:00 p.m.: Rachit joins us. He has had his bath and completed several other chores for Birjinder’s household. I am about to leave, so he offers to drop me off on his scooty (a light two-wheel automobile) to a convenient point.

8:05 p.m.: As he wheels out his scooty, Rachit calls his brother Suraj on the mobile. He asks if Suraj has returned from work. I can’t hear what Suraj says, but Rachit sounds agitated with whatever his brother’s response was.

“You shouldn’t work so late,” Rachit says. “Leave this job and come to Jallandhar.”

Suraj probably says something about wanting a smartphone, because Rachit tells him, “What will you do with a smartphone. You can’t handle your simple Samsung, how will you manage a smartphone?”

After a pause, he says, “Alright, please wait a few months. When I buy a new smartphone, you can have mine.”

Rachit finishes talking to his brother, and mutters how he never liked Delhi, and wishes his brother sees sense and comes away to Punjab.

He starts his scooty and we drive off to the bridge.