Batman, Spiderman, Ironman and the superhero’s list surpasses our imagination, endlessly. But many-a-times, there is a neat disconnect with these characters. They often come across as unreal, unfathomable, fictitious. The closest to reality is when one often associates traits of a personality and felicitates those traits with these characters, predominantly from the movies.
But lets peep closer into reality- all the aforementioned characteristics moulded into one and we get Delhi’s very own Matkaman. While superhero is an understatement, Alag Natarajan exudes the phrase “not all heroes wear capes”. But cape is an obvious indicator in this scenario- snoopy, Matkman’s beagle, the wind beneath his wings and one of the reasons behind our admiration.
A firm believer of the need to restore the once lost ties that binds us together as a society, the Matkaman started by creating more efficient cycle rikshaws for those who could not afford them, he conducted the last rites of destitutes who were otherwise unable to, he served food to the masses in areas inhabited by people who could not afford one basic meal a day. A pioneer of the human kindness revolution, the Matkaman established earthen matkas in most areas of south delhi. The purpose was to quench thirst in the sweltering heat of Delhi. These matka stands became emblematic of his heroism- in the wee hours of the morning; you would be lucky to catch a glimpse of the matkaman on his rounds, filling each and every matka with his own self equipped van. And now on to his only companion- snoopy.
Behind such arduous efforts, in the harsh summer months in Delhi, one would usually expect a large force working along with the Matkaman, aiding him and his efforts. However, Man has his bestfriend and that’s all he needs- Snoopy is his “driving” force, literally sitting besides him, on the passenger seat. He quotes, “On my Matka round I spend most of the time having a one way conversation with him, mostly on current affairs, and I think he understands me as he thoughtfully moves his head.”
Among the myriad idiosyncratic philosophies of life that the Matkaman upholds, his perspective on the upbringing of Snoopy, we believe, is worth giving a thought. He states, “When Snoopy was about 6 months old I impulsively took a decision to set him free ie: no more leash or doors / gates. Like any other street dog he roams the colony and has many human friends and admirers whose homes he visits and they all welcome him. Its funny how we humans pay large sums of money for a pet and deny it freedom, the most basic right. We think we own its body and soul, like we do with our children.”
The Matkaman has truly placed all species at the same pedestal in his selfless, giving world. Now this is what superheroes are made of, aren’t they?