Post 68, Abdullahpur Basti, Ludhiana

5:45 p.m.: Kamal Flour Mill is abuzz with activity. Birjinder sits at the counter to the entrance, dealing with his clients’ demands. Vishnu is operating the grinding machine, while Bablu Yadav and Hiralal Paswan prepare sacks of flour for deliveries. Kalki Prasad Yadav lines up the sealed sacks to one side of the mill for Vishnu and Rachit to deliver to clients as appropriate.

Rachit is away at the DMC Hospital, as he has every single day over the last week. Bablu discusses his plans to share his new room with a neighbour from his village in Gaya who has come to Ludhiana in search of work. He tells me Kalki Prasad has asked him about sharing the room and splitting the cost, but he has refused.

“Why?” I ask perplexed.

“Have you seen the state of the room in which the man lives? He’s very untidy. I want someone neat and tidy to share my room,” he replies as he holds the mouth of the sack open through which Hiralal pours the flour.