Humans of Hyderabad

As the heat continues to affect the city, a few good samaritans are doing the noble job of serving water to the thirsty

By Author  |  Published: 9th Apr 2017  12:30 amUpdated: 9th Apr 2017  3:09 pm
Big Gulp: Thirsty passersby queue up to get a glass of cool water at a water booth in Medhipatnam. Photo: Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad is a city where one gets to witness all sorts of seasons, whether it’s a harsh summer or freezing winters, sometimes all at once.

With the way the climate has been behaving over the past couple of days, it’s become common to see people covering their head with handkerchiefs and scarves to shield themselves from the harsh sun. Pass through any area, and you are sure to find atleast one coconut vendor with people around him quenching their thirst.

As the sun beats down harshly on everyone, scorching everyone with its intensity and dehydrating them, a few good samaritans are going out of their way to ensure thirsty passersby don’t get dehydrated.

Nirdosh is one such organisation in the twin cities which is helping many beat the sun. Started by Dr. Ram Kumar Tiwari 28 years ago, this society serves water every day to thirsty passersby. “It was my father’s wish to give water to the public. He always believed that pyaase ko paani dena punya ka kaam hai,” says founder – president of Nirdosh Service Society.

Since summer and water shortage go hand in hand each year, the society has tied up with Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply (HMWS) and collect the water from their own tanker. Through a large network of representatives, they distribute this water to 45 water booths across the city.

Every water booth has nearly 12 pitchers and can hold nearly 60-80 liters of water in each ghada. Volunteers who are hired on a temporary basis for these booths are paid for services like washing the pitchers and glasses, cleaning the premises and serving the thirsty crowd.

As many drink from the steel tumblers, the society ensures that hygiene is maintained in all their booths. “The water analysis department in Himayath Nagar regularly inspects the water. Once we get a clearance report, we are allowed to distribute it. We also have sudden checks at times,” adds Ram Kumar.

According to him, places with maximum number of crowd are main hub for water distributions. Water is consumed more in Koti, Nampally, Abids, Alpha hotel near Secunderabad, Vijayawada highway etc. Close to one and a half lakh people drink water from these booths every day in twin cities. “The RTC drivers are very happy with the services as they continuously drive the buses and are affected by dehydration and hot winds. The cool water helps them a lot and they have also started encouraging the passengers to drink water from here,” says Ram Kumar.

Like him, Khader Unnisa Begum is another lady who does the noble work of serving water to people all year around. Three huge ghadas are permanently kept outside her residence in Road No. 9, Banjara Hills. The watchman has standing instructions to clean and fill up the pots. Kept in a shaded place near the apartment gate, passersby and vegetable and fruit sellers sit under the shade and drink the cool water before going on their way.

Service to the furry friends

The weather affects not just humans, but also the voiceless. Pigeons can be found pecking at the collected water near construction sites, while dogs can be seen near water tanks hoping to get a splash of water.

One lady who has been taking care of the needs of animals and birds for many years now is Dr. Ranganayaki Srinivas known to her friends as Rangoo in Miyapur. Any given day, one is sure to find different species of birds hanging out in her backyard perched on the bird bath or pecking at the food she puts out for them. It’s not just birds, but rodents and animals like squirrels, cats, dogs, monkeys and even snakes which visit her.

Tasty Treat: Rangoo places a laddoo into one of the bird feeders at her home in Miyapur

“More than 100 birds visit my home every day between 5.30 am to 6.30 pm and fly around the backyard enjoying the laddoos, yellow millets and water,” says Rangoo. Her laddoos are so delicious that snakes have started to come and eat them recently.

Not surprisingly, a bond has developed between her and the feathered visitors. “I usually replenish the laddoos and the bird food early in the morning, around 6:00 am. One day, I overslept and was delayed by an hour. I was woken up by a light tapping on our window. When I pulled open the curtains, there were two very annoyed (and hungry) sparrows impatiently tapping the window pane!” recalls Rangoo smilingly. Since then she makes it a point to wake up early. Her habit has also given her a chance to observe the different species.

“One of the Wren Warblers is an explorer and loves to check out any changes in the backyard. It’s the first bird that hops over whenever I add a new feeder or make changes to the sprinklers. One of our Robins is very possessive about one of the tables and fights with any bird that dares to fly near the table. It’s fun to watch it parade around the table with its tiny head high in the air. Another baby Robin loves to play peek-a-boo. He hides behind the bottles and jumps up on the munia and sparrows that come to eat there,” laughs Rangoo, adding, “I think if each house can keep water and food in a dull coloured bowl in their balcony, garden or surrounding area, it will be a great service to the birds and animals,” feels Rangoo.