Humans of Hindustan

Without blue there’s no green; without water, there’s no life. In a world running out of freshwater where every drop of water counts, the 85-year-old Aabid Surti has taken it upon himself to make sure it’s not wasted. Founder of the Mumbai- based NGO ‘Drop Dread Foundation’, Aabid and his team have been going from door to door for the past 12 years, fixing leaking taps. Since the beginning of this initiative in 2007, they have covered 2000+ homes and saved over 20million litres of water. However, his journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. His childhood was spent in a chawl in Dongri (Mumbai), with his mother lining up every morning at the community tap for a bucket of water. This made him set out on his mission to plug leaking taps in & around his vicinity. Speaking about his initiative, Aabid says, “Every week we target a building, meet the society secretary and explain our purpose. We then put up posters on the building notice board, give out pamphlets with our details and finally (mostly on Sundays), we start from the top floor, knocking every door, fixing faucets. Initially, people were not very supportive; it took them a while to realize the importance of water conservation. Fixing taps free of charge meant I had to bear the expenses from my own pocket – I thought, plumber’s fee would be 200 and washer costs 2 per piece, so it won’t burn a hole in my pocket. But doing it regularly turned out to be a huge investment. Also, I have to pay my fare and take care of refreshments for my team, which all added up to nearly INR 5000 a month.”

Being a well-known National award-winning author, Aabid used his prize money earned through various recognitions to fund his initiative. He also participated in the popular game show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ hosted by Mr Amitabh Bachchan to spread awareness about water conservation and raised 11 lakh for his initiative. Maharashtra Government also recognized his efforts and awarded him with the prize money to help the noble cause. “I got more love for my work than I probably did from my mother. This is my ibaadat.”

October 24, 2020