A 41-year-old city resident is on a mission to offer relief to the people of Gurgaon from the scorching heat -- she provides them chilled drinking water for free.
Shailee Shah, a resident of The Belaire in DLF Phase 5, has been handing over chilled 500ml pet water bottles to office goers, construction workers and household helps whom she finds on the road during the daytime. She and her family of four have quenched the thirst of thousands by distributing over 3,500 water bottles in the last two months.
“Water is essential for life and, in summer, the chances of dehydration are very high. I and my family distribute the bottles to people regardless of their profession and provide them some relief from the soaring temperature,” said Shah.
Shah, who teaches Indian cuisine to Japanese women, said she stocks her fridge with at least 30 bottles at night and distributes them to passersby the next day.
“Most of my students take only mineral water and they do not need the bottles. I take the bottles from them and use them to provide water. There is a store full of plastic bottles to distribute,” she said.
The initiative started when Shah was waiting at a traffic signal around two years ago. A boy approached her for food and Shah handed him a packet of biscuits that was kept in her car. The boy refused to take the biscuits, instead, he pointed to the bottle in Shah’s vehicle and asked for water. Shah immediately handed the boy the bottle and saw him drinking it with a huge smile of relief.
“Seeing the boy smile after the first sip made me realise how important water is. A group of children then came asking for water but I did not have any spare bottles to hand over. It was after that day that I decided to spread smiles through water bottles,” Shah said.
Shah has also made a Facebook page called Smile Collectors with numerous pictures of people smiling while holding her chilled water bottles. A few of Shah’s friends are also following in her footsteps and distributing bottles in different cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru.
“A lot of people have come forward to help me. One of my friends from Ahmadabad recently gave me 100 caps to distribute along with water,” she said.