Abid Surti or Aabid Surti is a painter, author, cartoonist, journalist, environmentalist, playwright, and screenwriter from India and now he is going door to door for correcting leaky faucets for free. He is a man who starts his day by saving every drop of water. He is 84-year-young’ (that’s how he calls himself) National Award-winning author.
Over the years, his one-man NGO – Drop Dead Foundation, has saved more than 20 million liters of water from being wasted, just by searching and fixing leaky faucets, plugged absolutely free of charge. Aabid will take you through his interesting journey of saving every possible drop of water.
Aabid Surti Life Story
From his childhood memory, he said “ I was born in a very poor family, my childhood spent on streets and my mother had to wake up early in the morning and stand in the queue at the public tap for just on a bucket of water and sometimes she had to fight for her rights too.”That’s why I understand the value of every single water.
In an interview, he said, “I can hear that dripping sound of water at that time so sensitive, every drop I could hear so clearly like somebody is hammering on me”.
How Aabid Surti started his Journey of saving water
One day he was reading a newspaper in which he read an article it said “I if one drop fell per second from a leaking tap, each month 1,000 liters 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 decided to do something he asked a plumber to help and go door-to-door for fixing the leaky faucets. He formed the Drop Dead Foundation, a one-man non-governmental organization, with the tagline “save every drop, or drop dead”.
After some times he got the news that he received 1,00,000 Rs from his Hindi literature prize which he used in his work, like volunteer and plumber fees and some advertising stuff.
As an Artist
After his schooling, he joined the J. J. School of Arts and trained in Fine Arts. In 1958, He had his first solo exhibition of watercolor landscapes in Nainital. Since then, he has had had more than 15 Solo Exhibitions in many prestigious galleries in India and abroad.
Aabid has created more than 200 designs for stained glass, most of which have been executed by Khandwani Studio in Mumbai for clients from different countries.
As an Author
He has written around 80 books to date, which has been translated into almost every Indian language. Aabid Surti became an author by accident. When his first love broke due to family pressure, the teenaged Aabid had no one to confide in – so he began putting his story on paper.
The story was published in Gujarati in 1965 as ‘ Tootela Farishta ‘ (Fallen Angels) and proved to be an unexpected success. This led to a demand for more books, which ended as a prolific output of more than 80 books including 45 novels, 10 short story collections, and 7 plays!
A collection of his short stories, titled ‘Teesri Aankh’, won the President’s Award in 1993.
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As a Cartoonist
Since his childhood, Aabid Surti has been passionate about comics. As a seven-year-old child, the first comic he chanced upon was Disney’s Mickey Mouse, which had been discarded from a train by a departing British soldier. He was fascinated by the illustrations, the colors, the humor.
The first cartoon characters he created were in 1952–53 for a Gujarati magazine Ramakdu. It consisted of a comic feature of four pages in color with three prominent characters – a boy, a girl, and a monkey, entitled Rang Lakhudi.
“We generally ignore small leaks, because we’re not aware. Take the pledge, In future, we have to get all the leaky taps fixed immediately.
Mr. Aabid Surti says “whenever there’s a water shortage, we blame the government, but it’s not just the government’s job, it’s also our job to conserve water”.
He is encouraging more people to do their bit to change lives around them.
“I work six days a week, writing, painting, and drawing. On the seventh day, I spend a few hours, trying to create awareness, and motivate people in my neighborhood,” he says.
“You don’t need grand plans. Because every drop counts.”
Aabid Surti has saved 20 million liters of water in India by going door to door to repair leaking faucets , and he says ' I am only 84 and if I can, you can '. What a man, what an inspiration. pic.twitter.com/I1whG8c0qy
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) May 3, 2019
“If I can save 20 million litre of water single handedly. I am only 84 and if i can, then you can”
– Aabid Surti.