The act of providing water to the thirsty may seem a minor one, but when done day after day to a number of people in a parched land where finding enough drinking water for oneself is difficult, it becomes a magnanimous deed. And the fact that he buys the water from his pocket has made Shekappa Gurappa Malawada, a bus driver with the Karnataka Road Transport Corporation, a superhero in Gadag.
Samaritan Shekappa has a designated place in his bus for a big bottle of potable water, despite the bus being mostly overcrowded. He keeps the 20-litre container filled with water he purchases for Rs 5, and offers its contents to the needy on a daily basis. Heart-warming stories of him stopping by at places where water is scarce, if anything, reposes faith in humanity.
When Nagaraj LIC, a resident of Whitefield in Bengaluru, recently travelled to his native, a small village called Yavagal in Gadag, he couldn’t but notice the kind act of the driver of his bus offering water to his thirsty co-passengers. “The gentleman had this can of water placed near him from which he quenched the thirst of many people,” he told Bangalore Mirror.
“I went on to notice that the soft-spoken driver was treated like a hero in the villages that came under his route. After I got off at by stop and finished the work I was here to do, I recalled the kind act of the driver and felt like knowing him more. Since I hadn’t taken down his telephone number, I enquired around, and sure enough the first
person I asked in my village knew him and gave me his mobile number,” he said.
The owner of a petty shop I got his number from also told me that Shekappa was particularly caring of people with disability, women, children and senior citizens. “My mother too, I learnt later, travelled frequently by his bus and spoke very highly of him,” said Nagaraj.
When Mirror called Shekappa, he was driving and politely declined to speak while at the wheel. “I am on duty now and will call you later unless it is very urgent. I prefer not to let my attention get diverted even for a moment,” he said.
Shekappa later revealed that the soaring temperatures in the area, especially during summers makes keeping oneself hydrated very necessary. Since water is not easily available in many places that fall in his route, he began storing and offering it to his needy passengers. He drives for five hours every day between Gadag and Nargund village to cover 270 km.