There are plenty of yellow and green rickshaws on the streets of New Delhi, but Mahendra Kumar’s rickshaw stands out. Why, you ask? Because it has a garden on its roof. The purpose is to keep passengers cool during the scorching summer.
Kumar says the thick patch of green keeps the vehicle cool even when temperatures are touching 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in the Indian capital, enough to melt the tar on roads.
Kumar, 48, has grown over 20 varieties of shrubs, crops, and flowers, attracting commuters and passers-by who stop to click selfies and photos of the unique “moving garden”. Visuals of the rickshaw with plants grown on its rooftop have been circulating widely on social media.
“Around two years ago I had this idea during the peak of the summer season. I thought if I can grow some plants on the roof, it will keep my rickshaw cool and give relief from the heat to my passengers,” Kumar told news agency AFP.
He also installed two mini coolers and fans inside. “It is now like a natural AC (air conditioner). My passengers are so happy after the ride that they don’t mind paying me an extra 10-20 bucks ($0.13-.26),” said the father of three.
Doing his own small bit
Kumar said he was doing his “own small bit” for the environment by planting lettuce, tomatoes, and millets on his rickshaw. Preparing the roof for sowing was simple: Kumar first put a mat followed by a thick sack on which he sprinkled some soil.
He got grass from the roadside and seeds from friends and acquaintances and within days, the seeds sprouted into green shoots.
“It does not require much effort at all. I just water the plants using a bottle twice a day,” he said. Kumar’s initiative is an inspiration for his fellow drivers who have been asking him for tricks and tips.
Have a look at his interview:
Clearly, not all heroes wear capes. Some are drive rickshaws! Arab Khan, who hails from the city of Peshawar in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, is a rickshaw driver who earlier went viral on social media for setting his priorities correctly giving a free ride to schoolgirls.
According to reports, this generous rickshaw driver gives free rides to more than 100 girls to their school, and that too every day. Khan is famous as ‘Bhaijaan’ (brother) in his area in Peshawar.
What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments section below.