While the geography of the haor determines the yearly cycles of temporary migration for the majority of its unlanded (male) inhabitants, Milon's everyday organises around micro-rhythms that depend on the availability and quality of work he is involved in from season to season. As far as concerns his winter cycle, which spans from late November to the beginning of March and has a balu-pathor khoni, i.e. fields for the extraction of sand and stones, in the border locality of Bholaganj as setting, a typical day starts at 5 in the morning. Then, he and his crew wake up, have breakfast and head straight to the field, where the works are resumed by 6am. Milon's job of labourers' leader is hundred times safer than that of his men, who have to go up and down huge holes dug in the soil in order to extract stones and carry them to the surface: all he does is to supervise their operations, in particular the correct delivery of the stones to the various distribution stations in charge of the transport. The comparative authority role he plays in Bholaganj is diametrically opposite to his status as day-labourer at home as well as in Feni, the southern district where he normally spends the monsoon months (June-October). Then, he needs to report to the employers by 7.30-8am and, at least in his village where work is scarce and poorly paid, hope there will be something to do. When he doesn't get anything, an option is to walk down to the portions of the haor that are still accessible to the common man – nowadays, a number of people are leasing, hence enclosing, areas of the flooded land even if it should officially be protected by the state – and catch fish; but Milon isn't every day that motivated, and he often starts drinking in the morning itself. 05_MIL_2-2_RHY_PIC_01b.jpg
Both in Bholaganj and at home, afternoons replicate mornings: at the mine, after a quick lunch, he continues to walk from one extraction field to another until 5pm, when the sudden darkness sanctions everybody's rest; in Rarnar Char, if there is work, he reports back to the field or else roams around with other men until 7-8pm. Apart from the lunch and afternoon nap time, he never stays at home for long and leaves his wife alone with the everyday routines and their two sons. In fact, the impression of extreme but somewhat oppressed intimacy that one gathers when entering his hamlet derives less from latter's spatial arrangement – sparse mud-houses stretching over a long and thin char, or sandbank, shielded by dense vegetation from the outside and shaded by tall bael-fruit palms from the sun – than from its being deserted of adult men. While in all Bengali villages, the home continues to be considered women's reign, here the men's absence is outstanding: no one that would re-cover a roof, come back from the bazar carrying vegetables or fix working instruments. It is as if the literal isolation of the char, which from the main road can be reached only by boat, fostered their wish to stay away. 05_MIL_2-2_RHY_PIC_02b.jpg
There is no electricity connection in Rarnar Char: after sunset, a single gas lamp lights the interior of his home, where Milon, returning from the fields at 7-8pm, often shares a few glasses of local brandy with one or two friends while his wife warms up food for dinner; the children have long gone to bed. One advantage of the Bholaganj set-up is that due to the necessity to pump out water, the leaseholders installed a few electric lines that were then expanded by the workers to serve the few improvised tea stalls/food joints and their own tents: this gives them the possibility to spend a little bit of time chatting and playing cards in the evening hours – however, by 9.30-10pm, all go to sleep. 05_MIL_2-2_RHY_PIC_03b.jpg