Post 50, Chandak, Poonch

4:00 p.m.: Pradeep has been working non-stop for the last two days. He went to sleep earlier this morning and has just woken up. His co-villagers are preparing chicken curry for their dinner, while Mansur and his neighbours from Forbesgunj are cooking stir fried beef. For this reason, Pradeep asks me to avoid eating dinner with Mansur. When I tell him I have no problem eating beef, Pradeep looks surprised.

Pradeep tells me that Sundar has reached home. Mansur had asked him to persuade Sundar to come to Jammu instead but Sundar had declined, indicating that he had no money left. He says they plan to spend a couple of months in Sargana, participate in the Dina Bhadri festivities, and then perhaps travel to Jammu.

7:00 p.m.: The stir beef fry is ready. Mansur wishes that Pradeep would join him too.

“He does eat beef. But perhaps he wants to avoid eating it in the presence of the youngsters from his village. They will make a big deal of him consuming beef. He obviously wants to avoid gaining all that attention.”

Post 49, Chandak, Poonch

9:00 a.m.: Pradeep informs me that his son Deepak, nephew Sundar and their neighbour Mantu are in the train from Ludhiana back home to Sargana. Work on the gurdwara they have been constructing is over. And there are no further jobs, so Damodar the contractor has advised them to return to Sargana.

The Janseva Express, which they will take for their journey home, is late by over six hours. Scheduled to depart Ludhiana at 9:00 a.m., it will now only leave at 3:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m.: Deepak calls Pradeep to inform him that their train has only just left Ludhiana station. It was late by almost nine hours!