83-year-old Aabid surti is a national award winning writer, painter and cartoonist runs an NGO. He is the founder of the one-man NGO named Drop Dead Foundation (DDF) with a tagline- “save every Drop or Dead Drop”, which fixes leaking taps in residence in Mumbai, free of cost.
When he visited for repair taps, the door was generally answered by women and they were two men, Mr. Aabid and plumber, they would get suspicious and shut the door at their faces. So, Mr. Aabid recruited a female volunteer to help.
On every Sunday he visits the topmost floor of his apartment complex in Mumbai’s Mira Road district. He rings the doorbell of all the apartments in the complex, asking a simple question to people - “do you have a leaking tap in your home? Aabid is visited by a plumber and a volunteer. The plumber gets a work, plugging leaks in the homes of those who answers with a yes. Aabid apologies to the people who says no.
He read a newspaper article in 2007 that explained that a tap that dripped once every second would lead to the waste of over 1000 liter of water in a month.
When ask him why he chose to begin this journey with Dead Drop and Aabid shared- It was his childhood time, he bought up on the pavement. It was the time when he saw fight for every drop of water. Every bucket people had to fight for. And this legacy stayed with him.
Once he visited in a friend’s home, he saw one of the taps leaking, that hurt him. Aabid asked him to repair the tap, but he defended not to doing repaired tap with excuse and said- no plumber got ready to come for these tiny repairs and leaking water is not a big deal, these are just some water-drops.
Since the time that leaking tap bothered him so much. That was the time when the foundation came into existence in 2007. He visited almost every house of Meera Road, fixed leaking taps free of cost and save water lakhs liters of water. Aabid said, Over the years, his efforts have helped save 10 million liters of waters and also won him fans and followers.
Aabid was already a prolific National Award-winning author of over 80 books. He has also written 7 plays, hosted 16 exhibitions of his paintings and credited 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.
Since he started his Drop-Dead Foundation, he has nominated for the CNN-IBN- CJ “Be the Change” Award 2010, organized the Dead Drop Foundation (DDF) short film competition to raise awareness of water conservation and had his project featured in multiple national and international media platform.
Most of the people ignore small leaks, because they’re not aware. Whenever there’s a water shortage, people blame the government, but it’s not Just the government job, it’s also our job to conserve water.