This appeared on Jan 15th 2007 edition of Deccan Chronicle newspaper. For long I grappled with the thought of whether to post it. The image is disturbing and I did not want to post it for shock value. However, I feel we need to be aware of the society and world around us and make us realise that we can’t turn our eyes away and remain smug in our well-being. So here it is…Jaisalmer: Sixteen-year-old M. Kalpesh suffers from a disorder which has led to paralysis of his limbs. His mother Rukmani Bai does not have the money to get him treated. Rukmani Bai lost her husband Mangilal, the sole breadearner of the family, in 1999. Mangilal worked in a factory on daily wages. After his death she has been literally left on the streets. She says her son has been suffering from the disorder since he was a child.
For the last five years, she has tried to get her son some medical attention, but her poor financial condition has always come in the way. The mother and son live in a shack and come out on the streets every day to beg. “No doctor at the government hospitals in Jodhpur, Jaipur and Gujarat is kind enough to treat my son,” says Rukmani Bai. She gives her son a liquid diet because he is not able to consume anything else and survives on begging.

– story by Sawan Bohra