Post 22, Balmaripur

7:20 p.m.: Shailendra informs me that he is hopeful of completing work on the dome in a few days. It is taking much longer than expected because he is alone and the work is very fine, requiring a great deal of concentration. He expects that Sundar and his brother will join him next week.

Shailendra’s mobile has been repaired, and he is able to watch movies again.  He watched Ramta Jogi again last night, and tells me how much the film moves him each time he sees it. The film is about the tragic romance between a Dalit (“untouchable”) mechanic and a Savarna (“high-caste”) student. However, Shailendra doesn’t like the way it concludes, with the boy being killed by the girl’s parents even after they got married.

“Why did the director have to kill the boy?” he exclaims. “Why couldn’t they just show a successful inter-caste marriage?”

“Of course”, Shailendra reasons, “our society is like this, so such an ending is real. But the ending could have been more optimistic.”