Society

Quenching thirst on three wheels

P. Raghupathi spends nearly Rs. 200 from his daily earnings of about Rs. 500 to provide drinking water to the public -- Photo: M. Karunakaran

P. Raghupathi spends nearly Rs. 200 from his daily earnings of about Rs. 500 to provide drinking water to the public -- Photo: M. Karunakaran

Listening to autorickshaw drivers rant about rising fuel prices and inadequate meter fare is a common occurrence for city commuters.

But here’s a man who is bent on going beyond the challenges of his meagre income, and doing his bit for society. Every day, 30-year-old autorickshaw driver, P. Raghupathi, spends nearly Rs. 200, from his daily earnings of about Rs. 500, to provide drinking water to the public.

For the past two years, he has been helping tired commuters, pedestrians and others quench their thirst via a bubbletop can fixed in his vehicle.

“This is a small service aimed at the old and the physically challenged, especially,” says Mr. Raghupathi.

He has painted the words ‘free drinking water’ on his autorickshaw, in English, Tamil and Hindi.

Many foreigners have stopped his vehicle and asked for water, he says. “I ensure the water can is clean at all times. I also stock disposable cups to ensure hygiene,” he says.

As a child, Mr. Raghupathi says, he wanted to become a doctor and serve people. But poverty prevented him from continuing his education beyond class VII. “My father was a rich farmer. But, all of a sudden, we were plunged into poverty. I tried a different occupation to help my family. Even today, our condition has not improved,” he says.

Then why does he spend so much money on providing water to the public? “It gives me some solace,” he says without a second thought.


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Printable version | May 26, 2022 8:57:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-society/quenching-thirst-on-three-wheels/article6347506.ece