(October 30, 2021) The 68-year-old Alagarathanam Natarajan, a resident of Delhi, gets up every day at 4.30 am not for his morning walk but to drive his specially-crafted Bolero truck to serve water to the underprivileged in the neighbourhood of Panchsheel Park in the capital. Popularly known as the Matka Man, Natarajan each day fills up to 60 matkas or earthen pots that he has placed around South Delhi to provide clean drinking water to the thirsty passersby.
According to his website, Natarajan earlier carried out the task through a small van but it was in September 2021 that he bought a Bolero maxi-truck using his pension, savings and donations from well-wishers.
“I have developed and set up more than 15 Matka stands all over my neighbourhood in South Delhi. The stands have a sign with my personal telephone number, so people can notify me when a matka is empty, and a bench when there’s space. The water is supplied by a school nearby and two kind souls. The rest I supplement from my own home,” the website added.
Natarajan was a businessman who lived in the UK for over three decades only to return to India in 2015 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Post his operation, he decided to figure out the purpose of his life and began volunteering with a number of NGOs. He finally found his calling in serving water to the needy.