This week’s spots of cheer.

Farmers in Maharashtra’s Konkan area have struck green gold with bamboo farming

Sunil Sawant, a 57-year-old railway points man at Kudal, has refused several promotions as they entailed transfers because he doesn’t want to leave the bamboos in his 20-acre plot. He informed that last year he sold Rs 15 lakh worth of bamboo to traders from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi. He plans to make Rs 20 lakh next year.

Watch: This is how a man used Amazon Prime’s same day delivery to help the homeless


Something beautiful happened when a video director named Rob Bliss in the US realised that ecommerce giant Amazon’s same-day delivery option could do more than bring ice-cream to your door instantly.

He tried to use the service to get some homeless people on the streets what they desperately needed in the cold of winter: socks, shoes, long johns, sleeping bags. Within hours, the products were delivered – thanks to the facility for adding delivery instructions (“Just ask for Al outside the shop”).

Warp and weft of time: An Indian collector’s carpets tell stories of tribes, trade and families

With the end of nomadic way of life, tribal carpet weaving also came to an end. Collectors, says Mehra, are therefore curators and custodians of a part of the world’s history, preserving markers from a way of life that is now gone. The one trait that all the carpets in Mehra’s collection share is their imperfect nature. Part of this comes from the small, portable looms that tribal women were using. While they made it easy to keep moving, the downside was that the carpets and rugs they produced were rarely ever straight. Then there are the sudden changes.

Watch: This is how amateur street artists in Delhi are transforming the drab walls of many buildings


India’s cities, especially residential areas, are not exactly known to be beautiful, given the lack of urban aesthetics among slapdash builders. One of the things that has released the plainness and squalor, however, is spontaneous street art taken up by amateur artists using the walls of buildings as their canvases.

A prime – in many senses – example of this are the giant paintings and murals on the outer walls of houses in the Lodhi Art District of New Delhi. A short film (above), made by Medhavi Hassija and Prateek Shankar, captures this artistic venture.

Watch: Bubbles freezing in cold temperatures might be the best thing the world sees this winter

Bubbles are such ephemerally beautiful things, you wouldn’t think it possible to make them any better. Unless you happen to live in sub-zero temperatures. For they’re truly mesmerising when they freeze, looking like snow globes.

You can make them yourself, with just some warm water, soap, sugar, corn syrup (recipe below), and temperatures below minus 20 degrees celsius.

Let’s talk about sanitary pads: A marathon taught Kerala about the need for sustainable menstruation

As we tiptoe around the M word in India, disposable sanitary pads are aggressively marketed to women as aspirational products carrying the promise of cleanliness, convenience and modernity. The language of advertising tells women that bulges are shameful, white, desirable and plastic, convenient. Disposables are the high road to empowerment. No smell, no stains. Use and throw.

Video: This man from Uttar Pradesh has been feeding hundreds of monkeys everyday for 40 years


Shyam Sadhu, 79, from Rae Bareli says he was initially scared of the monkeys and gradually overcame the fear.

Poet and lyricist Neeraj: ‘Poetry has kept me intoxicated throughout my life

Although Neeraj had first participated in a poetry gathering when he was 14, it was Delhi that gave him his big opportunity. At a conference, he recited Pardesi apne ghar jao re in the presence of literary giants. Apart from a big round of applause, he recalls, he got five rupees as a prize.

“Even after getting several literary awards and the prestigious Padma Bhushan, none of the awards could match the happiness I got out of winning those five rupees,” Neeraj said. “I was hard up and the money came at a crucial time.”