Post 48, Kitchlewnagar, Ludhiana

5:30 a.m.: Rachit picks me from Arati Chowk on his way to the Dayanand Medical College, where Birjinder’s aunt Amarjeet Kaur is recovering from a surgery. She has now been shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Rachit rides on at full speed and we reach the hospital in ten minutes. Amarjeet’s daughter (Birjinder’s cousin) has been staying with her since the previous evening, and Rachit has come to relieve her and take over the care-giving for a few hours before her husband, Amarjeet’s son-in-law can come. Rachit sits by the hospital bed in the ICU, keeping a constant watch on the monitors that display Amarjeet’s heart beat rates and blood pressure levels. The graph depicting her heart beat frequently plateaus, leading the device to sound out an alarm that calls for the immediate attention of the nurses and attending doctors. Rachit is evidently exhausted and I remain on tenterhooks.

8:00 a.m.: Rachit steps out to the waiting area outside the ICU briefly to catch some fresh air. He stands around this area for about fifteen minutes before hurrying back in.

10:00 a.m.: Amarjeet’s son-in-law arrives at the hospital as scheduled. Rachit and I leave the hospital. We are both hungry and stop near Arati Chowk to eat some chhole bature (a savoury snack consisting of chhole, or chickpeas boiled and cooked in a spicy batter, served with bature, a large flour flatbread).

10:30 a.m.: Rachit drops me to my room and proceeds towards Birjinder’s home.