Visiting his father’s village, writer Mehul Srivastava learns what it’s like to eat as many poor Indians do. The vast majority of Indians, especially villagers, are suspended in nutritional purgatory—they eat enough to fill their stomachs but not enough to stay healthy.

Pictured, Ghanshyam, a day laborer in Auar village, with Urmila Devi, his wife.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

Visiting his father’s village, writer Mehul Srivastava learns what it’s like to eat as many poor Indians do. The vast majority of Indians, especially villagers, are suspended in nutritional purgatory—they eat enough to fill their stomachs but not enough to stay healthy.

Pictured, Ghanshyam, a day laborer in Auar village, with Urmila Devi, his wife.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

Malnutrition in an Indian Village

Visiting his father’s village, writer Mehul Srivastava learns what it’s like to eat as many poor Indians do. The vast majority of Indians, especially villagers, are suspended in nutritional purgatory—they eat enough to fill their stomachs but not enough to stay healthy.

Pictured, Ghanshyam, a day laborer in Auar village, with Urmila Devi, his wife.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

In the afternoon, the family eats unleavened bread with rice and lentils.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

Urmila carrying well water.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

Ghanshyam and the author share a meal.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

Urmila holds some unripe mangoes.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

Ram Dev Yadav washes his son’s feet, while Pramod Kumar Yadav has a cup of tea and his wife, Manju, prepares dal for breakfast.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

Rajkumari Yadav boils milk in an open kitchen.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

Farmers weed their fields.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek

Buffaloes bathe in the river.

Photograph by Sanjit Das for Bloomberg Businessweek