ARS Iyer - Blog

A Selfless Soul in the Service of the Community


Among the teeming millions of Indians there are a few who go about doing little things for society unobtrusively without any expectation of reward or glory. They go about doing their things even though there is hardly any appreciation for their work. I am going to relate one such person whom I came across recently.


There is a short cross road from the busy Perambur High Road in Jamalia in Chennai north. I was staying there for a short while on a holiday with my daughter. There are a dozen neat houses on either side of the cross road which ends in a dead end. If you look closely you will not miss someone who takes good care of the road day in day out. Starting out in the early hours of the day, she sweeps the road from end to end to keep the road sparklingly clean and tidy She is not a Corporation sweeper who is paid a monthly salary by the Corporation as she is not on their pay roll. She appears to be a soul who is abandoned by the society. She for all practical purposes has no family support as she lives by herself and sleeps on shop fronts closed for the night. She eats at the way side tea vendor in the vicinity of her 'workplace'. She hardly exchanges a word with people who frequent the road through out the day and goes about doing her work silently. Knowing her plight a few samaritans give her money for her food in appreciation of her good work. Although she makes no demand she expects a decent sum of money to keep her free from hunger. She wears a tattered saree of course a gift from an understanding lady. We do not know where she lives, washes or eats. But every morning she is back at work unerringly. Some say she has been in the locality for several years and her name appears to be Saroja and she looks to be about forty years old.


Considering that she takes care of the cross road keeping it scrupulously clean day in and day out some wag suggested that the cross road which has no name at present be named Saroja Salai (Road). This will be a fitting reward for the self less service she is doing for the community.

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  1. Supriya Sundar

    A fantastic blog Daddy… When I read the title, I was intrigued to find out who you are talking about. When I continued on to paragraph 2, I immediately remembered this woman I last saw about 7 years ago.. A very touching blog, I wonder what made you remember her now? I always thought she deserved much better things in life. It surely will be brilliant if they named the street -Saroja Salai-.

  2. Ambika Sabeshan

    Daddy, I loved the write-up.. It was really nice of you to have written about Saroja and her selfless service to that street.. Not many people take the time to notice the effort that this lady puts in everyday in cleaning up the street but rather, they consider her to be somebody to be laughed at.. I feel that’s its remarkable that you touched upon this topic and she would indeed to be honored to know about this and it would be great if the street was named after her!

  3. raji

    Daddu,tears filled my eyes when i read your description about -my Saroja-.-my- because she belongs to my lane .Thanx for writing about her whom everyone just considers a mad woman with no better work always screaming and shouting .but how many recognise her selfless service to the it scorching sun or pouring rain Saroja is always here cleaning this end of the road or the other.even as i am writing this to you i can hera the sound of her broom as she briskly cleras away the litter from the house adjacent to mine.She really deserves the Reward that you have mentioned in your article.

    thanx once again daddu for the touching narrative.