City Food – Summer Water & Snacks, New Colony Road, Gurgaon
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s miserably hot. The blinding white sun is showing no concession. The very air seems to be slowly boiling. A thirsty man is walking on the street when, suddenly, a voice calls out to him: “Hello brother, come on, take a rest for two minutes, eat some channas, drink some cold water.”
Well, this is the message on a yellow banner hanging outside a garment shop in Gurgaon’s New Colony Road. Along with three earthen pots of water and a big plastic jar filled with channas.
“Yes, this is for everyone—all faiths, all castes,” says shopkeeper Raj Kumar Agarwal. In his fifties, the kind gentleman explains, “All people are my friends… all sorts of folks stop by… rickshaw pullers, labourers… they come all day long… they nourish themselves and sit in the shade, smoke a beedi or two and go away 5 or 10 minutes later.”
A Krishna devotee, the shopkeeper shyly informs that he started this “sewa” (service) some three years ago. “Bhagwan Krishna told me to do so.” This isn’t the risky tap water, the gentleman cordially points out, gesturing towards the water pots outside. “I purchase RO (filtered water processed through reverse osmosis) water daily from the market.”
A security guard appears. He pours a ladle of water down in his parched throat, looks relieved and smiles to himself before walking away. He is followed by two labourers hauling cement sacks on a pull cart.
Mr Agarwal keeps channas and water from April to September. “In winter, I keep moongphalis (peanuts).”
Drop by here to personally witness a fellow citizen’s heart-touching generosity.
Testing times, good manners