Post 20, Balmaripur

5:00 p.m.: Shailendra has completed laying out the tiles on one of the smaller domes of the gurdwara.  He will now proceed to complete the construction of the temple’s grand dome, rather than working on the hall as he had mentioned earlier.

“For work in the hall, I will wait till Sundar and his brother return to Balmaripur. There’s a lot of other work to be done in any case. Completing the grand dome and then laying out the tiles on it; decorating the columns that hold up the ceiling; completing the jhalar (brick-and-mortar decorations), etc. I will proceed with those, and once my cousins and others return, we will work on the hall.”

Shailendra’s mobile is giving him trouble. Although he can make and receive calls, he is unable to watch any movies. So, he plans to hand it in for repairs in Ludhiana town.

Post 4

10 a.m.: I follow Shailendra to his sunflower fields. The skies are overcast. Beyond the canal, next to the blackberry tree, lie his 0.2 acres of sunflower fields. The family cultivates the crop using their own labour- Shailendra’s parents, elder brother and sister-in-law, wife, children and nieces and nephews. But when the crop will be harvested in a few days, they will have to hire labour. Most labourers tend to be their neighbours, usually people without any land. They are all from the same Rishideo (Musahar) community as Shailendra. Their wages are paid in cash: INR 100 per day. After the harvest, the seeds will have to be threshed: the family will have to rent a threshing machine for which they must pay INR 150. If they wanted to pay in kind, they would have to pay one-tenth of all the seeds or one bag for every ten bags of seeds.