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Matkaman: A Real Hero Fighting Thirst and Hunger

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Alag Natrajan, better known as ‘Matkaman’ is a man on a mission, he has taken upon himself to ensure that pedestrians do not go thirsty, he has placed around 90 Matkas in various colonies of South Delhi for the convenience of pedestrians, some of these Matka stands which have been mostly placed adjacent to bus stands have also been equipped with bicycle pumps and oil for the convenience of the cyclists.

Natrajan, is a retired businessman has been extending his services to the less privileged strata of society since 2014 when he returned from the United Kingdom. Every day early morning he goes around in his customized van which has been transformed into a water tanker for refilling the Matkas.

However drinking water and by cycle pumps are not the only services that he is rendering to society. He also provides free breakfast to poor women and homeless children and breakfast at subsidized rates for homeless men.

Though initially he started off his social service as part of several NGO’s he eventually chose to work alone “I came back to India in 2014 and I was associated with many NGOs. I was part of an NGO working for cancer patients, later I also worked for cremating unclaimed bodies, the
van I use as a water tanker was initially used for transporting unclaimed dead bodies for cremation. However I am fiercely independent, I wanted to do something by myself so I chose to go alone.”

When asked what inspires him to take up such social services he shrugs his shoulder and says that helping others is one’s true nature “our natural tendency is to help others, it is in our DNA, what prevents us from helping others is greed. I have always felt that we all our connected be it human beings, environment or animals and it is in our nature to coexist by way of caring for each other.”

Natarajan feels that at a time when we are faced with a pandemic the government must make available drinking water facilities and washing facilities for the homeless and the labor classes “the government must make available water, both drinking water and water for washing along with sanitizers everywhere for the poor. The poor often don’t have access to these basic facilities which could go a long way in prevention of Corona and other diseases; at least they should have access to water, soap and sanitizer. Drinking water is very important in a hot country such as ours, you don’t expect the people to buy water bottle costing Rs 20 every time they are thirsty.”

He lists sincerity as the most important value for those who wish to contribute to society “I would strongly advise that no one should embark on social work unless s/he is ready to be sincere, and that does not come easily it has to be practiced and cultivated. If you are serving people sincerely you would grow as an individual and the person who you serving would also feel satisfied. People can see through whether you are sincere or not.”

Natarjan says that he could expand the scope of his work if the Delhi Jal Board(DJB) were to support him “What I need is water, I would be able to expand my services a lot more if the Jal Board provides me water, I would then upgrade my van to a 4000 litre tanker which would enable me to install at least 300 Matkas.”

Most of the financing for these activities is provided by Natrajan himself and he would welcome any corporate which wishes to support his activities.

Those who wish to volunteer or lend a helping hand through food items or cash can get in touch with Mr Natrajan at matkaman.com.

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