His day starts at 4:30 am every day, but instead of doing yoga or going out for morning walk, he gets into his specially modified car and starts his journey to delver water around the capital. Alag Natarajan (68) takes an hour an a half to fill at least 60 matkas, he has placed in and around south Delhi so that thirsty people can get access to clean drinking water.

According to a Times of India report, it is due to his efforts that he has earned the epithet, the ‘matkaman’ of Delhi.

Natarajan, a retired engineer had returned to India in 2005 after spending over 30 years in London. He reportedy said that it was a brush with colon cancer that changed his mindset. His was detected at an early stage and treated on time but it made him determined to make his post-retirement years count.

Alag Natarajan initially started working voluntarily for the Shanti Avedna Sadan cancer hospital where he would help people who were not able to afford the cremation expenses of their loved ones, even ferrying bodies in his van.

After working there, Natarajan soon got the idea of placing matkas on stands in areas like IIT, Green Park, Panchsheel and Chirag Delhi. The water, he says, is collected from three different borewells whose owners appreciated the work he was doing and wanted to help.

He got his car modified with a generator added and two tanks of 500 and 200 litres to ensure the matkas did not run dry.

He also has his volunteers for this work, which include his house help, gardener, a drain cleaner from the area and a full-time assistant. This is not the end! Alak Natarajan has now made a few designated points in the Panchsheel area where cyclists gather for refreshments in the form of lassi, to drink water and to get cycle bells installed.