The Telegraph
Thursday , June 12 , 2014
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Gulp, gulp, thank you
- High court judge & wife put up pitchers near their home

Giving water to thirsty strangers at any time of the day or night. It’s a truly humane gesture and no wonder it comes from a widely respected high court judge in Ranchi.

Justice Prashant Kumar has installed two pitchers outside his official residence behind St Xavier’s School at Doranda for thirsty passers-by of the locality.

At any hour of the day or night, the pitchers are full of clean and cool drinking water.

Both Prashant Kumar and his better half Alka Srivastava are extremely particular about the fact that the pitchers need to be full and hygiene maintained at all times. In fact, Alka monitors this personally.

The profound impact of the couple’s gesture was reflected in the face of a thirsty passer-by on a scorching Wednesday afternoon.

Shanker Tirkey, a driver employed by the forest department, who was on duty, approached one of the pitchers and drank the water gratefully.

Bhagwan bhala kare (God bless you),” were his first words.

In these days of bottled mineral water and fizzy drinks found at every marketplace and neighbourhood corner store and paan dukaan, Tirkey’s words prove how free, cool and clean drinking water from a pitcher is still priceless.

Main kafi der se thande pani ki khoj kar raha tha (I was in search of cold water for a long time),” Tirkey was all smiles after gulping one full tumbler.

Ramdev Sahu, one of the security guards deputed at the judge’s residence, smiled in return.

Among the staff in charge of pitchers installed two months ago, he said he felt blessed.

“Madam (the judge’s wife) pura dhyan rakhti hai. Hamesha poochte rahti hain (Madam takes full note of the pitchers and keeps asking about them),” he said, adding around 200 people drink water every day.

A security guard who did not want to be quoted said it was an additional task for them, but the work was something they truly enjoyed doing.

“The satisfaction of seeing thirsty people heave a sigh of relief after drinking water is precious. We feel really good,” he said.

He added that their task of filling and refilling water started from 6am.

At times, there’s a rush when schoolchildren throng the pitchers, and pitchers need to be refilled frequently, he added. “It is during those hectic times when we realise we are serving humanity,” he said. “We ensure that the pitchers are filled even at night.”

People said former judge of Jharkhand High Court and present president of state consumer commission Justice R.K. Merathia introduced this system of keeping pitchers. What an idea, sirji!

Do you have a message for Justice Prashant Kumar and Alka?