Little Manish is too small to fathom the abhorrence with which people stare at the black spots covering his body or to understand their taunts. The one-and-a-half-year-old's mother abandoned him after he was born and doctors say he could develop skin cancer.
Born to a family in Hindoli town of Rajasthan's Bundi district, about 200 km from Jaipur, Manish was welcomed to the world with joyous celebrations. However, the revelry was short-lived when they saw to their shock that more than 80 percent of the newborn's body was covered with black spots.
"Manish was disowned by his mother soon after birth. The terrified mother does not let him come close to her," the boy's grandmother Bardhi Bai told IANS.
Bardhi Bai has been looking after the boy ever since his mother abandoned him. She has now brought him to Jaipur for treatment.
"These spots are due to the excess of skin pigments in the body. The boy is being examined from time to time as the possibility of skin cancer in such type of patients is very high. Plastic surgery is the only treatment for this disease," said a dermatologist at the hospital where Manish is admitted.
The boy's father Kesar Lal said: "This is the first time we have admitted Manish in a hospital. Earlier, doctors in Bundi told us that he cannot be treated. So we kept giving him health tonics.
"We still don't know what disease he is suffering from and doctors are talking of plastic surgery. They tell me it would cost at least Rs.100,000. I am just a small farmer, I cannot even dream of spending this much money."