bamboo By Sathya Prakash Varanashi: If regions like Assam can live on bamboo staircases, Bangalore too can live on them. They combine beauty with functionality, says Sathya Prakash Varanashi

Would we believe in the statement ‘Some of the newest ideas are based on the oldest practices’? On the face of it we may not, but if we look at the way bamboo is making a grand return, most of us may agree.

As we are searching for new ideas of design and solutions for eco-friendly living, we realise the past holds as many inspirations as the future can tempt us with. The long lengths, jointed body, light weight, easy workability and such others made it an excellent material for high walls and roofs. With a surface skin that can be easily peeled, bamboo provided varied products like woven baskets and floor mats. With a tensile strength beyond that of steel, it found popularity as supports for buildings and pavilions. At the other extreme end, bamboo shoots provided unparalleled options in food too!

People have climbed on a bamboo ladder ever since they lived in settled societies, especially in areas where bamboo grows. In the basic form, one would cut off the small branches leaving only a small part of it, such that they work as steps at staggered levels. This way, people could climb on a single bamboo pole, if it stays stable against a support and carry it around with ease. Then came the design with two poles interconnected with the steps, so one could get better hand grips and stability for the ladder itself.

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