Post 53, Arati chowk, Ludhiana

8:45 p.m.: Rachit stops by on his way from the DMC Hospital to meet me. He has been there since 2 p.m. and says he needed a break. Birjinder’s aunt has been readmitted into intensive care.

A huge bonfire illuminates the market place, lit by traders and residents of the neighbourhood, to celebrate Lohri, a festival at which people pray for good harvests. Rachit and I stand near the bonfire as people sit around it and chat. In a while, we are both invited to join as they stand up and begin to walk in a circle around the fire. We are all given some rice grain, pop corn and sesame seeds to throw into the flames as we circle it, with some people chanting phrases which I cannot understand: Rachit later tells me that these chants are to invoke the gods to bless the land and banish poverty.

Rachit then leaves to return to the hospital.