A young man rams sugar cane through a roaring metal grinder. Rich sugar juices stream from a metal pipe and collect in open channels in the surrounding dirt.
Bubbles form in a babbling mud hole. An old man feeds a fire below the stewing sugar water. The steam reeks of baby powder mixed with Hi-C Fruit punch.
Nearby men scoop up the cloudy water and fish out the dirt flakes (well...most of them). They then leave the substance to dry. In 15 minutes the syrup has thickened into golden brown blocks of sugary goodness.
This is just an ordinary scene at a sugar factory in Bugrou Village, Uttar Pradesh at twilight. The factory primarily supplies sugar to sweeten local beers including the infamous Kingfisher.
The whole irrigation system reminded me of the amateur trenches I used to build at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. As an ambitious child, I would spend hours dislodging sand crabs and digging carefully constructed holes to suck the salt from the incoming tide.