Can you live without water for a few days? One experience that I will never forget

 I live in a colony of South Delhi. We have a big house and life has always been comfortable. But my parents have always taught me to be grounded and kind to others. Never to be snooty or pompous. My parents themselves are down to earth so I have good examples to learn from. We donate clothes and food regularly to orphanages and NGOs. It makes me feel so good. The feeling in unbeatable.

When I was in my graduation during the month of April, I was coming back from an area near my colony when I noticed a group of women standing in the scorching heat with big matkas. A few men and children were standing with them too. They seemed to be in a tense conversation. My driver kept on driving and I didn’t get to find out what the issue was. The next day I witnessed the same situation. I asked my driver to stop and I got off from my car and walked up to the group. I asked them what the problem was and one of the lady told me that a water pipe had bursted and they were unable to get water from the one common tap of their settlement. She pointed out to the group of jhuggis that was visible from where we were standing. Another man informed me that they hadn’t taken bath since yesterday and soon their drinking water was going to finish. I could see the pain on their faces and saw a small boy with dried lips, clearly dehydrated. It was extremely hot and not having access to water could have bad consequences. I asked them if they have informed a plumber and they said they have and they have been told to wait every time they call him, probably because these people are poor and he has better customers to attend do. I had withdrawn my monthly pocket money from the ATM the same day and immediately gave all of it to my driver and told him to buy water cans from a nearby market. He came back with a few cans and to my surprise he himself had pitched in his own money as well. I was happy. We gave the people the water cans and they were out of words. They couldn’t stop thanking us and were extremely happy. One of the men had tears in his eyes. I was just relieved that I could help them somehow.

I then called my mother and told her the situation. She called our plumber and told him the location of the jhuggi. Thankfully we had got those water cans because the plumber took a few hours to reach. At least the people could drink water and make food. The plumber called another of his friend to help him and took them several hours to fix the pipe. I went home in between and came back again with my mother to check the progress of the pipe. By early night the pipe was brand new and water was flowing. It was perhaps the best sight for the people who were deprived of even a glass of water. My mother took this opportunity and spoke to the people there, telling them about water conservation. She informed them how precious water is and how we should not even waste a drop of water because once exhausted, we will not have access to it. They listened to her with interest as they were not aware about this and promised us to be more careful as they had already experienced water shortage. They couldn’t stop thanking us for what we did and we couldn’t stop feeling good looking at their beaming faces.

I always try to help people whenever I can. The less fortunate should not be forgotten and we who have everything in life should always try to do our bit. I urge and request everyone to be more giving and empathetic, because kindness is an underrated act and the world desperately needs it.

Supriya Senapati

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