In 2007, Aabid Surti, a National Award-winning author and artist came across a newspaper report, which said a leaking tap could amount to 1,000 litres of water wastage. It reminded him of his childhood when his mother would queue up at 4 am for a bucket of water on the pavements of Mumbai. After reading the report, even the mere thought of it disturbed him. So he decided to embark on an unusual mission: fix leaking taps. He set up a one-man NGO, Drop Dead Foundation with the tagline, ‘Save every drop, or drop dead.’ He would knock on people’s doors with a plumber, and ask them if any taps in their house were leaking. So far, Aabid has fixed over 5,000 taps and saved over 20 million litres of water.
Aabid is just one of the many fascinating people Cyrus Sahukar meets in the second season of National Geographical Channel’s It Happens Only In India. The show presents amusing, unconventional stories of people and places across India.
Cyrus also encounters the amazing real-life stories of Balakrishnan Palayi, who’s been on a coconut diet for the last 20 years, and Sarvagya Kulshreshtha, who holds world records for solving the Rubik’s Cube on a bicycle, hanging upside down, and underwater.
“I haven’t done a show like this before,” says Cyrus, who’s been a presenter for over two decades now. “These are the kind of stories that I look for on social media and in real life. They tell us that we all live on one planet, but there are over a million different ways to live and they cannot be judged through success in terms of money or fame. This fascinates me.”
In the show’s first season, which aired in November 2021, Sonu Sood presented stories about the mysteries of ancient India, innovations from the world of science and technology, and some unbelievable craftsmanship. But the second season has Cyrus going to the places and meeting the people himself. Stories such as Aabid’s or Sarvagya’s, he says, were a learning experience.
“If you want to do anything in your life, you will face some kind of resistance; your families might discourage you, it won’t be right for society, and what you are planning to do will be called unintelligent. But there is a small percentage of supremely passionate people, who decide to do it anyway. They undergo a struggle. But once they accomplish what they set out to do, there’s a magical feeling of joy they experience.”
Amid many fake sensational stories of idols drinking milk and five-headed snakes, there are real stories that equally make our jaws drop. “These are some extensively-researched fabulous pieces of information. There are a lot of stories in our country that haven’t seen the light of day or been fully covered. So, I’m happy there’s a show like this. If you’re a traveller or interested in different aspects of what our country has to offer, then this is the show for you.”
It Happens Only in India will premiere on National Geographic Channel 8 pm on January 15.