Rinky cradles her son, his head against her chest. Two-year-old Kunal is about to undergo surgery for a right inguinal hernia, as part of the first morning of work here in Bhopal. Rinky is nervous. Her left foot taps quickly against the floor as they wait with other patients near the operating room. Kunal whimpers, like tears are about to roll from his big eyes, then he gnaws on the red ID bracelet taped to his small wrist. His mother rocks him. And again her foot nervously shakes—tap tap tap tap tap.
Rinky lives with her husband and three children in a village about 5.5 km outside of Bhopal. “It is a very poor village,” she says. They can’t afford the surgery, which is why the family traveled to the city for screening on Sunday, with Rinky and Kunal returning for the operation on Monday.
When Kunal wakes up from the anesthesia, he’s crying—but Rinky is relieved. They will spend the night here at the Sewa Sadan Eye Hospital. In the afternoon, he lies on a red cot, unhappy, his mother stroking his chest. “I was crying a lot this morning,” she says in Hindi, “but now I feel better.” Here’s a look at Rinky and Kunal’s day: