A father-son duo in the city fill potholes on the road in their locality.

“The roads had holes and I was filling them to make it alright,” young Karthik summed it up. Two hours of voluntary work, filling some of the potholes on the Kaithamukku-Punnapuram road on Sunday evening with his father, was a simple contribution this six-year-old could make as a citizen, and he seemed only happy to do it.

“The condition of the road has been bad for years, and we have done this many times now,” Mukunda Kumar, a resident living nearby, who decided to fill the ruts on the road near his house, said.

No cars stopped by and no shopkeepers from the establishments lining the road offered a hand. But that did not discourage the father-son duo, and they continued to fill the ruts with small stones and mud for more than two hours. “Two autorickshaw drivers and Padmakumar, a lab technician, stopped by and offered help. We completed the work on four potholes. There are a few more and I will continue to do whatever I can,” he said.

Mr. Kumar believes that group effort can achieve a lot more, and has registered SEQUOIA, a community group, with his friends who together carry out such citizen initiatives. Voluntary blood donation, traffic awareness in schools, social forestry, food distribution in hospitals... the group has taken up a number of philanthropic activities.

“This is a reflector, and it helps other people see the back of my cycle,” Karthik said, showing a bright red sticker on his bicycle. One of the latest initiatives of this group has been collecting waste retro-reflective stickers and distributing them to school students and two-wheeler riders for free as part of traffic awareness programmes.

“If we want changes in our society, everyone has to come together and work collectively,” Mr. Kumar, who is an LIC agent, said.

Another rain could literally wash away the mud filled into the potholes, and Karthik would have to start all over again, but on Sunday, he was happy about the way the road looked and the work he had accomplished.