Post 69, Arati Chowk, Ludhiana

3:00 p.m.: Rachit stops by at my room on his way back from the hospital to his employer’s home in Abdullahpur Basti. As I finish up my notes, he shuffles through his whatsapp messages and listens a few times to the election jingle of the Samajwadi Party which someone has forwarded. His friends from his village in Sargana are circulating this jingle in their network.

3:30 p.m.: Rachit asks me to search for High Tech Construction Company on google. An acquaintance has offered to broker a job as a security guard for his brother Suraj at this company, but is demanding INR 16,000 as a fee for his services.

“We don’t have so much money to give away. My father is constructing a house, and we need to save for that,” Rachit frowns. “But if it is a decent job, then obviously it will help all of us,” he continues, the creases on his forehead becoming more prominent.

Post 59, DMC Hospital, Ludhiana

7 p.m.: Rachit whatsapps me to ask if I will be free this evening to accompany him to the hospital. I agree.

8 p.m.: Rachit picks me up from my room in Arati Chowk and we drive to the hospital. He is wearing the black jacket he wore yesterday. We reach the hospital in fifteen minutes.

8:15 p.m.: Rachit heads into the ICU where Birjinder’s aunt is admitted. I wait in the area outside. He emerges from inside the ICU with a gate pass and a prescription for an ultrasound which needs to be performed on Birjinder’s aunt. We go downstairs to the reception area where Rachit has to make the payment for the ultrasound. One of Birjinder’s brothers-in-law, Parminder, trusts Rachit with his credit card so that he can make all hospital-related payments with ease. Rachit swipes the card to make the payment of INR 13,500.

8:45 p.m.: Birjinder telephones Rachit to instruct him to stay at the hospital tonight. Although the aunt’s daughter will also be staying, somebody will have to be on call to do any leg work if required.

Rachit and I go to the cafeteria to buy ourselves some coffee. He borrows my power bank so he can charge his mobile through the night.

Post 56, Arati Chowk, Ludhiana

2:15 p.m.: Rachit stops by at my room on his way back from DMC hospital where Birjinder’s aunt remains admitted. He informs me that her health has remained the same. Her relatives have had to return to their respective homes since they cannot be away from work for a prolonged period of time, so it is now his responsibility to provide care for her. He has been at the hospital since the previous night and is now rushing home to pick up Birjinder’s children from school. Once they have been dropped back home, he will drive back to the hospital to attend to Birjinder’s aunt.

3:00 p.m: Rachit glances at his watch and hurries away.

10:30 p.m.: Rachit forwards me the following whatsapp message, which plays on the unique arrangement of digits in today’s date:

Today, people will know that 16.1.17!!