Got a Leaky Tap- Take the Example from a 83-year-old Man to SAVE MILLION Gallons of WATER
Mangaluru : I am quite positive that there are probably hundreds or thousands of leaky taps/faucets, which people have ignored to fix it or call a plumber to fix it- and in the meantime, when Mangaluru is suffering from water scarcity and water rationing, it is about time, citizens of Mangaluru wake up and take precautions in even losing a DROP of WATER. Apart from leaky taps/faucets, we can also see water being wasted due to negligence of construction workers breaking water pipelines- and leave it with water running for hours and days, till a pool is formed- and until someone complains to fix it. We can also see residents using excess water for plants- and there are a bunch of car wash firms also making use of the precious water, when people are desperate for drinking water.
Now at least, to take care of all the leaky pipes/taps/faucets, please follow in the footsteps of this 83-year-old man named Aabid Surti from Mumbai, who since decades has been bringing awareness not to waste water unnecessarily, and till this day his efforts has saved nearly 20 million litres of water. 83-year-old Aabid Surti is a national-award winning author, cartoonist and artist. He has over 80 books to his credit. On every Sunday morning he visits the topmost floor of his apartment complex in Mumbai’s Mira Road district. He rings the doorbells of all 56 apartments in the complex, asking residents a simple question: “Do you have a leaking tap in your home?” Aabid is accompanied by a plumber and a volunteer. The plumber gets to work, plugging leaks in the homes of those who answer with a yes. Aabid apologizes to those who say no. Over the years, Aabid says, his efforts have helped save 20 million litres of water – and also won him fans and followers. Aabid possesses is his one-man NGO – DROP DEAD!
Speaking once to BBC reporter, he said “I was always troubled by leaking taps,”. He says he grew up on the pavements of Mumbai where, as a child, he saw his mother queuing up at 4 am for a bucket of water. “I saw people fight for each drop. This childhood memory keeps haunting me whenever I see a dripping tap.” In 2007, Aabid came across a newspaper report which said that if one drop fell per second from a leaking tap, each month 1,000 litres went down the drain. “I couldn’t get that image out of my head, of someone pouring down 1,000 bottles of water into the gutter.” So he formed the Drop Dead Foundation, a one-man non-governmental organisation, with the tagline “save every drop, or drop dead”. He hired a plumber and started going around fixing leaking faucets in people’s homes free of cost.
“When you honestly set out to do good work, the entire universe is there to back you. Not only that, God becomes your fund raiser,” says Aabid. Just days after he decided to set up the foundation, he received news that he had won a Hindi literature award which came with the prize money of Rs 1,00,000. “My costs are low. I pay the plumber and the volunteer Rs 500 each. And I spent some money on getting publicity material, so the money lasted a couple of years,” he says. “And whenever my finances are about to dwindle, God pokes the right person and I receive a cheque without having to ask.” Now, says Aabid, the plumber and the volunteer refuse to take any money from him.
If there are two words that can sum up genius, it’s Aabid Surti. Author, painter, cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and environmentalist – mix it all up together and you’ll get India’s very own legendary hero, the Jack of all trades. Aabid breathed life into one of India’s first and most loved comic superheroes. Anyone who has ever flipped through an issue of Indrajal Comics will remember the exploits of Bahadur, the brave man. It was none other than Surti, whose genius blessed us all with literary treats that still resonate deeply with a vast audience.
A pioneer in every right, his works are notable and exceptional. A critically acclaimed and National Award winning author, Aabid’s list of creative outbursts far surpass the likes of any ordinary individual. Aabid, as the very name suggests, was born into a Muslim family in Gujarat. His father is a follower of Sufism but his mother tongue is Gujarati. Having obtained a diploma from J.J School of Art, Aabid began his journey as a freelancer. Most of his works are heavily influenced by writings of the 20-century Bengali novelist, Sharat Chandra Chatterji.
For Aabid, painting remains his first love. Most of his works as an author and cartoonist stemmed from his need for money. He wrote with the primary motive of paying for his painting supplements, but in doing so, created lovable characters that are cherished, till date, by people from all walks of life. He became an author quite accidentally. A lover with a broken heart, he wrote as a refuge. Penning his heart down on a piece of paper, he turned the tragic end of his love story into a massive success. All those emotions, which were bottled up deep within him, found a place amidst pages of a notebook. Surti has written over 80 books, including an impressive list of 45 novels, 10 short stories, and 7 plays. Most of his books have been translated into almost every Indian language. He has written fiction, non-fiction, travelogues, and children’s literature.
One of his novels, titled The Black Book created a nationwide controversy. It’s quoted to be “darker than night and brighter than light.” The book speaks of a man who can see both sides to his soul, the black and the white, the right and the wrong. Considered to be one of his most important works, the book embodies an image of the Devil’s Gospel. This book earned him the nickname “Salman Rushdie of India,” and was voted book of the year in Kannada. Aabid’s short story collection, called ‘Teesri Aankh’ won the President’s award in 1993.
Aabid is more famously known for creating legendary characters who every child in decades past grew up reading. It was when Aabid chanced upon Disney’s Mickey Mouse, that he realized just how much he loved the very idea of a comic strip. In India, this was at a time comics were practically unheard of. His initial curiosity and interest developed into a fancy and before he knew it, he was acknowledged as the ‘Father of Indian Comics.’ Aabid created the first Indian Superhero – Bahadur. The sixties and seventies were spewed with dacoits and no comics so he weaved stories around this premise and gave birth to one of India’s most revered fictional character. Bahadur was so popular, he had a cult following.
What sets Aabid apart as a painter is the fact that he has no unique style of his own. His artistic abilities spark from his very nature to experiment. It’s as though he has many different personalities concealed in one body. Sticking to one beaten path has never been his thing -which is why there is a sense of fulfilling discovery in understanding Aabid’s very being.
And finally as an Environmentalist-there is no end to what the man can achieve. He has constantly thrilled us all and still continues to do so. Adding on to the already tremendous personality Aabid possesses is his one-man NGO – Drop Dead. The modern-day Jal Rakshak, Aabid is saving the country, one drop at a time. Aabid currently resides in Mumbai and very well understands how precious water is, having coped with water shortages himself. Troubled with the thought of one day running out of the water, he set out to investigate (like a character straight out of one of his comics) about water leakages around his locality.
Along with a plumber and a volunteer, he went around fixing water leakages in people’s homes. His efforts have helped save 20 million liters of water. Drop Dead is the name of his non-governmental organization. Its tagline goes to say – ‘Save Every Drop, or Drop Dead.” Such is the wonder Aabid Surti !