Mumbai: At 84, Aabid Surti who is a painter, author, journalist and with his ‘Save Every Drop or Drop Dead’ movement is also known as a social worker. He solely runs an NGO which works for saving water.
Aabid has written 80 books and seven plays, hosted 16 exhibitions of his paintings, and created much adored comic characters like Dabbuji, Bahadur and many more. In 1993, this versatile artist also received a National Award for his short story collection, Teesri Aankh.
According to Aabid, in his childhood when he was staying in a chawl, at that time he had witnessed the pain of getting up early in the morning and the struggle to get even a bucket full of water. In his chawl, he was a witness to everyday fight over water.
This he has never forgotten till day. And so Aabid decided to start this initiative ‘Save Every Drop or Drop Dead’ in 2007, and since then he has been to more than 2,000 houses where he fixed the leakage and made them understand the importance of even a drop of water. He visits every other building with a female volunteer and a plumber to check if a resident’s pipe leaks so that he fixes it, saving water wastage.
Every Monday he visits at least one housing society to talk to their secretary and chairman about his plan of saving water and with their permission sticks the poster in the society. After this on Sunday with a female volunteer and a plumber he visits the same building and starts from the top floor knocks every door and asks wether their taps are leaking, so that they would fix it. By this he gives the message of save water to people.
“Initially people were not quite supportive, but after some time when people started understanding the issue of water they not only supporting me but lauded my cause. If you do good things, good people automatically will be with you, even all your obstacles are automatically cleared,” says Aabid quite proudly.
Further, Aabid says, “It is a one man NGO, he doesn’t have a big office, big team and other expensive equipment, but for a good cause you just need a good thought, and good intentions rest all is provided by God.” “When I started this initiative I didnt have a budget, people to support me.
I just spoke to a plumber about my plans he was ready to work with me, but without any charges, and the next thing was when my work explored, then suddenly from a place I recieved a cheque of Rs 11 lakh hence my financial problems was cleared,” said Aabid. Aabid who is a senior citizen staying alone, still has the excitement to work further to save water. He has also come out with his new plan according to which he had designed some posters which has the message by God.
For eg, he had made a poster on which Mohammed Prophet is asking people to save water, this painted this poster made to stick in masjids and he got a wonderful review from the maulvis that earlier their tanks had only 10 per cent water remaining after the wajud (people wash their hands and feet before offering namaz).
Since the poster was pasted in that masjid, drastic change in usage of water was witnessed. He has also painted a poster of Lord Ganesha with a message ‘if you waste water, where will you immerse me?’
This poster plans are on the initial stage, which will be soon brought in use by him. The idea behind this poster theme is in our country people won’t listen to you even if you request them for eg to save water, but when the same theme goes as God’s message, people starts following it very sincerely with a prayer.