In Ranchi, the capital of the Indian state of Jharkhand, a brother and sister suffer from a rare disease that causes them to look many years older. Keshav Kumar, 18 months, and his sister, Anjali Kumari, 7, not only have extremely wrinkled skin and swollen faces but also have to endure pain in their joints. They are affected by a rare form of Progeria as well as a disease called Cutis Laxa.
The poor siblings are teased by other kids and have to make do with people staring at them wherever they go. Anjali says that she wants to be treated like a normal kid and wishes she was as pretty as her sister. “The children in school call me names like daadi amma (grandmother), budhiya (old lady), bandariya (monkey), or hanuman (a Hindu monkey lord) and it annoys me,” she told MailOnline in an interview.
Doctors in India say that the siblings' condition cannot be cured. They live with their parents, Shatrughan Rajak, 40, and mother Rinki Devi, 35. The children’s sister, 11-year-old Shilpi, who is the eldest of the three, was born normal.
Their father, Shatrughan, has to spend over Rs. 500 a month on the homeopathic treatment for Anjali and Keshav as they cannot afford allopathic medicines. Their distraught parents feel helpless seeing their children age faster than them.
Anjali and Keshav are prone to various ailments because of their low immunity levels and are already at a great risk of arthritis, chest infections and even heart attacks at such a tender age.