Tag Archives: Writing

Life Stories – Playing in the mud in Monsoon, India

Monsoon brings life. Everything in nature blooms. Plants and tree turn greener. Frogs come out. Birds began to build best to breed and care for their young ones. Even insects and worms flourish.

In April 2020
In July 2020

Monsoon brings happiness to India. Crops and vegetables are grown. Water from rain is still the major source of supply for agriculture and drinking. Rivers and dams start to fill. Ponds and lakes rise again. Peacocks dances with might. Life is replenished.

During Monsoon, young kids used to play in mud. They used to build houses and castles with the freshly soften mud. The smell of the Earth would feel them with new energy. As they play in the grass and the mud, lot of animals would come to graze. Buffaloes, Cows and Horses would be left free to have a good meal in by their owners. They would munch fast enough to not even chew anything but gulp as fast as they can. Once they are all done, they would go to a quite place under a tree or a shade and sit quietly while they chew slowly all the food they just ate. Watching such things as a child, you learn how nature reacts and responds to different situations in life.

Kids create new games or follow the old games being played from ages in their villages and town. One such game played in the mud during the monsoon was very unique. A group of kids would come together and decide whose turn it was to play by other toss or by some trick. One such trick was to form a group and bring your hands together. Then shout and flip your hands. You can either keep your palm up and face it down. Whoever turns out odd, gets to be the one to serve the play.

By forming a circle with a iron rod, it was considered as home. Each one would go about throwing the rod about 8 inches long. Since the mud was dampened by then, anyone who throws the rod well, it would stand upright. Failing to throw the rod to stand upright, you will loose your turn. And you will be next person to serve.

As one by one the kids kept on throwing, they would go far off from the home. Once in a while, one of the kid would through the rod like a parabolic very far in hope that it will fall upright. It may fall flat but if it falls upright, then it feels like a triumph to them. It is almost like a victory. Because that will push the game too far.

Whoever faults, then end up serving. Now from the point wherever the fault occured, that is the rod fell flat, back to the point of the circle as home, the first kid had to come back jumping on one leg. That is the game. They had to learn to jump on one leg all the while in the mud, without putting other leg down. So farther it went, the chances were some may slip, some may end up getting tired and they would have to do it altogether again.

It’s a harsh game that way but the kids do not realise it. It’s fun usually. It develops resilience to keep going. Playing in nature is not only just a fun or playing in mud dirty experience, it’s more about learning how to function as a group. How to compete in a healthy fashion and how to take turns. Also you understand how to stand strong. You develop physical fitness and various motor skills. You become prone to weather. And develop an understanding of underlying vibrance of nature.

In a matter of a decade, most of such open lands have been replaced by colonies, multi-storey apartments, factories and shops. Such open lands used to be as wide as a km or more. Now only a sparsh area of some hundred ft is left for many kids to play. Most kids end up playing games on electronic devices, watching TV and movies, eating junk food and never actually stepping out in the open. They never see frogs, let alone seeing a tadpole. Chewing of food by animals is a distant concept that they read about in books after being adults. Getting drenched in rain is a trouble because of the clothes and gadgets we carry get damaged and we fall sick. We prefer to go rain-dance in some amusement park.

The gap we have created in our lives is causing lot of disturbance in how we perceive and respond to it. By succumbing to four walls and being connected via electronic gadgets, we are experiencing a change in our brain responds to our surroundings. The constant need to be online, read what’s happening around the world, knowing what has gone around the world and being able to see at our finger tips is causing constant drain. It is creating toxic experience. And the same people who built such network and now selling products for mindfulness, meditation, apps, sessions, lifestyle change and coaching.

By pulling us out of our free flowing life and putting us in a cage filled nowhere to go and constantly serving visual attractions, we are collectively creating a world that is causing more damage than the good.

Shine brighter to find the unseen !

With a beautiful heart and soul
It’s difficult to behold
With the precious dreams
And priceless beliefs
In the material world
Looking for an angel
Is like in going into the ocean
And searching that pebble
In the deepest darkest depths
But hope is on
For with your own glow
The magic can turn things flow
You may see your own reflection
Across the sea in the perfection
So glow as bright as you can
As you are searching to be loved
There is someone looking to love
Looking for that sparkle out of you



Answers are all hidden within us
Our wishes are tied with our limitations
When we truly let go of them
We enter into the land of accomplishments
So I hope and wish
What you seek
Comes to you
In ways you may even not realise.

Aabid Surti, painter, author, cartoonist, journalist, environmentalist, playwright and screenwriter from India.

Aabid Surti is a painter, author, cartoonist, journalist, environmentalist, playwright and screenwriter from India. He was given a National Award by the government of India in 1993 for one of his books.

Abid Surti was born in a Gujarati Muslim family on 5 May 1935 at Vavera, near Rajula, Gujarat, India to Gulam-hussain and Sakina Begum. In his childhood, at the age of 5, he almost got carried away by flood in the Tapti river near Surat. The family later shifted to Bombay and he spent his childhood in Dongri area of Mumbai. His father was follower of Sufism. He joined the J. J. School of Art in 1954 and obtained a Diploma in Arts. He was greatly influenced by the writings of 20th-century Bengali novelist, Sharat Chandra Chatterji. Besides being a writer in Hindi and Gujarati, he is also an expert in Urdu. He started his career as a freelancer. In 1965, he married Masooma Begum; they have two sons from this marriage.

Surti has written short stories, novels, plays, children’s books and travelogues. Several of his books have been translated into regional languages. He has also been writing for Hindi and Gujarati newspapers and magazines for over 40 years and received a National Award for his short-story collection Teesri Aankh in 1993. He became an author by accident. When his first love broke down 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.

He has written more than 80 books, including 45 novels, 10 short story collections and 7 plays.

The autobiographical novel Musalman was an account of his childhood in the poverty-ridden Dongri area of Mumbai. His latest novel, Sufi, describes the parallel lives of two friends: the author himself and a man called Iqbal Rupani, who rose to become the kingpin of the Mumbai underworld in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1975, his fictional version based on the Devil’s Bible, entitled The Black Book, created a nationwide controversy. Even amidst critical acclaim, it was translated into seven languages and voted Book of the Year in Kannada. He earned the nickname the “Salman Rushdie of India” after his Black Book was published.

Surti has been acclaimed as a painter, credited with using creative and original techniques to paint with oil and watercolours. His use of acrylic colours applied to Italian art paper is also said to be out of this world. An accomplished painter, he has held 16 exhibitions in India and abroad. In his early years, he invented an innovative technique called “mirror collage” which won critical acclaim in Japan. In 1971, the Indian government commissioned a short film to showcase his creative work.

Aabid Surti founded Drop Dead, a water conservation initiative in Mumbai in 2007. Every Sunday, along with a plumber and an assistant, he visits houses in and around Mira Road and fixes dripping taps. He simply replaces old O-ring rubber gaskets with new ones. The idea struck him in 2007 when he noticed the dripping tap in his friend’s house. “A tap that drips water once every second wastes about 1,000 litres of water every month so imagine how much we all waste,” he points out. Surti and his assistants raise awareness through posters and pamphlets. He pays for all expenses from his pocket.

To know more about his detailed work visit Wikipedia page about him.


This post is from our series – Surtis, People of Surat. We bring to you stories of Surtis, people from Surat who have a story of them in the fields of Arts, Science, Technology, Entertainment, Food, Health, History, Journalism, Environment, Education, Politics, Social Reforms and many others. Follow our channel for more updates into your inbox. Stay tuned.

Narmad House | Surat Heritage Site

Narmad Dave was a poet, philosopher, writer, social reformer and one of the first of his kind in Surat and Gujarat. He is prominently called as Kavi Narmad, for his spectacular work of composition – Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat – a poem, later adapted as the state song of Gujarat.

Narmad was born in Surat and later moved to Bombay. When he came back to Surat in the mid 1800s, at around the same time he started working as a teacher, he composed many of his works. He built Saraswati Mandir in 1866.

Surat Municipal Corporation, took over the task of renovating this heritage site in 2015, as with other projects it has undertaken and shaped into a beautiful museum. Located in the centre of city, inside the residential colonies, this place is very quite and very appropriate for someone in search of inspiration for arts, literature, history or just peace.

IMAGE GALLERY

The museum is very simple, clean and serene place, with 2 floors. The ground floor houses Narmad’s bust with details of his birth and death date. It also contains various daily newspapers in English, Hindi and Gujarati. There is a sitting area for public to sit and rejoice the facility. Various weekly and monthly magazines are also available for reading. On the 2nd floor, there are books and novels, written by Narmad and historic sequencing of his life, some pictures and books.

Often a traveller goes around the world, to find about who he is, but sometimes, it is right within the city, where you can find rich history shaped and often visiting such places, you envision the journey of a time traveller and meet the people and culture of past, with new eyes. Narmad House is one such place. If you want to experience the beauty of this place, please try to spend some quite 30 minutes without wondering about another bucket list on your instagram profile, you will cherish the experience.

Timings : 8 am to 8 pm on regular days.
( On Mondays and public holidays – 8 am to 2 pm)

HERITAGE SITES NEAR BY


If you have any information on history of Surat and Surtis, do reach us out in our contributors section. Let us know how was your journey and experience in Surat, travelling through the corners of Old city to the modern infrastructure, in the comments section below.