Sikendra assures me that he will be leaving tomorrow, May 20. His cousins, he and I, along with the contractor Bhrameshri Rajak will take the bus to Saharsa, from where we will board the train to Ludhiana.
My colleague Zaheeb and I decide to meet Bhrameshri, so we walk to his home. Bhrameshri is expecting us: Shailendra may have sent word. Bhrameshri has been working in Ludhiana since 1990. He started out as a construction worker, eventually obtaining the skills of a mason. He was also able to mobilise laborers, men like Shailendra Rishi who knew their work could be trusted. Bhrameshri has been building gurudrawas since the last four years. His fame was such that a Sikh gentleman from Italy wanted him to come and build a gurudwara there. But the visa did not work out.
Work on the gurudwara is strenuous but rewarding. For one thing, food and accommodation is taken care of. So, even though cash wages are less than elsewhere in the construction sector, workers prefer construction work in the gurudwara than elsewhere.