Jaiprakash Nagar is an area of garbage collectors, adjacent to a stagnant canal overflow. It is also one of the areas of Varanasi where pigs roam the streets. And today, these pigs are hungry. Attracted by the crowd of people and smell of food, these large animals covered in black sticky mud are soon attempting to eat the discarded leaf plates and banana skins. They are fearlessly chased away by the children, until 2 large pigs begin fighting and squealing, causing the children to scatter.
Each child receives as much vegetable curry and roti as they wish, plus a banana. The children are hungry with most eating 2-3 servings. There are also a large number of children bringing younger siblings to eat. I watch how they care for them, feeding them and ensuring they are in the shade, even if it means that they are in the intense mid-day sun themselves. My attention is drawn to the number of children with angry looking rashes on their skin. I am told that it is a heat rash that usually clears by itself. However, I am still taken aback by the appearance, even though the children themselves do not seem affected. But, when I consider the lives and probable future of these children, the rashes no longer seem so important.