Can you recall your life as a 10-year-old trotting around the house? Remember how we lived without a care in the world and how our to-do list comprised of just four things - eating, sleeping, playing and a bit of studying - day in and day out, with a want for nothing in our young lives?
We had a rather comfortable life, a house filled with toys, a bunch of friends to play catch with, a loving family and all our needs taken care of without having to utter a word.
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But 10-year-old Siddharth Dhage from Mukundwadi, Aurangabad in Maharashtra was not born with such good fortune. Maharashtra is currently facing one of the worst drought situations the city has seen in the recent past, and Siddharth is bearing the brunt of the consequent acute water crisis in his hometown.
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Siddharth is a resident of a housing unit located in Nirmala Devi Nagar which houses 300 families, but the water supply in the area is basically non-existent. Like many others in his locality, Siddharth travels long distances to fetch cans of water that would aid his family's daily survival.
Travelling close to 14 km daily, class 2 student Siddharth, with his two other companions, 12-year-old Ayesha and her younger sister 9-year-old Sakshi, board the train plying between Aurangabad-Hyderabad to fetch water from the taps of the railway station in Aurangabad.
Siddharth leaves his home at noon every day to board the Aurangabad-Hyderabad train from the Mukundwadi railway station. He then gets down at the Aurangabad City Junction to fill his cans with water from the railway taps installed along the railway lines. He boards the train back home and reaches home late in the evening after almost six hours of to and fro.
From waiting under a tree for the train to hopping on to it within minutes of its arrival with the heavy, water-filled cans and making a 14 km pilgrimage on a daily basis, the 10-year-old is the living example of what mindless wastage of water can do to the less privileged and impact the future we are trying to build for the next generation.
Let's take pity on the reality of so many of our countrymen and do our bit to preserve water, and bring this grave situation to the authorities' attention and push them into action. All of us deserve easy and free access to clean drinking water.