Little Sunni died in a hospital in Samastipur on Wednesday, before his impoverished parents found any takers for their kidneys so they could rustle up the Rs 250,000 needed to treat their son's blood cancer.
As national newspapers broke the story of an international kidney sale racket on the outskirts of the national capital, two-and-a-half year old Sunni lost the battle of life at the Sadar hospital in Samastipur, about 100 kms from here.
And Amarjit Rai and his wife, residents of Shahpurpatori in Samastipur district, were left grieving, wondering why they could not sell their kidneys in time to save him.
"Sunni's death defeated his poor parents determination to save him at the cost of their own life," said Kamlesh Mahto, an activist.
Before Sunni died, the couple had been roaming the streets of Samastipur looking for prospective buyers and for ways to earn money for their child's treatment.
The couple was desperate.
"Sir, I am ready to sell my kidney for the treatment of my son," Rai told IANS a day before his son died. He had left his native village with his wife and son last week to hawk his kidney for money in the state capital.
"Our kidneys are up for sale. But we will sell them for not less than Rs 250,000," Rai said. A landless farmer, Rai was working as a rickshaw-puller in New Delhi till last year to earn a livelihood for his family.
Rai said his son developed health problems after a quack (doctor) in Delhi administered some medicine that had expired.
"Since then, my son has been ill. We consulted the (Delhi-based) Hindu Rao hospital for treatment, the doctors told us that he was suffering from blood cancer," Rai said.
Doctors of Hindu Rao hospital as well as those in Patna said the treatment was costly and "would not be possible without money".
"I returned from Delhi along with my family because life in the capital was expensive. I made efforts to raise money, knocked on all doors but everything failed. Now I have no option but to sell a kidney for my son's treatment," Rai had said.
Like thousands of poor people in rural Bihar, Rai migrated to New Delhi in search of a livelihood and became a rickshaw puller. But he was forced to return to his native village after his son was found suffering from blood cancer.
Sunni had been admitted to the children's ward of the Sadar Hospital in Samastipur on Monday for treatment and doctors assured him of help.
"They promised to arrange for a medical loan of Rs 25,000 for initial treatment. But it was too late to save him, we realised that poor like us were helpless," Rai said.
(Imran Khan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )