Something about bamboo...

Something about bamboo...

A natural, eco-friendly material, bamboo is used today in just about everything, from furniture to cutlery. However, if you are wondering how it can work for your home, Indrani Mukherjiee has some worthwhile suggestions to offer.

Our relationship with bamboo spans several centuries, and cultures as well. The way we approach and use bamboo has evolved over the years, although the reach of bamboo is in every facet of our life. Today, even in the 21st century, this tall grass is considered to be  a symbol of friendship in India. In the vedas, it is known as the plant of eternity or kalpabriksha.

Bamboo is highly versatile and has a higher compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete and a tensile strength that rivals steel. Additionally, it helps in control of soil erosion and produces more oxygen (around 20 per cent) and absorbs more carbon dioxide than any tree.

Myriad uses

Not only does it promote eco-diversity, bamboo is also environment friendly when used as a furniture option. If you are unsure as to how bamboo can be used at your home, here are a few ways to help you get started:

* Lucky charm — According to Feng Shui, bamboo plants represent the
elements of water, wood and earth. This plant is one of the most recognisable and popular feng shui cures. Also, it is said that it can attract auspicious chi energy. Since the bamboo plant is strong, it can energise your home.

* Kitchen favourite — Bamboos have long been a favourite in kitchens in its many forms. One of the most popular forms to enter the kitchen space is the bamboo cutting board. Apart from helping knives stay sharp, these boards are incredibly stylish and are much easier to clean than the regular plastic ones. Bamboo is also a popular material that is used in traditional Asian kitchenware such as steamers and cutlery sets.

They are also used to make the skewer sticks that hold the barbecued dishes together and the popular Asian cutlery, chopsticks. Other bamboo-based wares include spatulas, turners and forks that are largely used in southeast Asian countries, including India. As opposed to the plastic-based kitchenware, those made of bamboo are completely natural and hygienic to use. 

* Popular staple — Don’t let its tough exterior fool you, as bamboo shoots have been a popular food staple in Asia for centuries. They are served either fresh, dried, shredded, pickled, braised or curried. In fact, bamboo shoots are considered a delicacy in Coorg, Karnataka and northeast India. Also, bamboo shoots are rich in protein.

Bamboo rice is another popular food (particularly in southeast Asia), where-in the rice is cooked in a freshly cut bamboo, known to be rich in vitamins.

In India, there are many tribes who have been cooking chicken and seafood in bamboo for many years.

* Putting away odours — Bamboo charcoal is a versatile material that can be used as an air freshener. When finely ground, it naturally kills odours in refrigerators and other closed places such as closets or cabinets. Given that the percentage of pores in bamboo charcoal is high, it is ideal for water purification too.

* Furniture & decor — This is perhaps one of the most elegant and chic ways to use bamboo. In terms of furniture, there are bamboo sofas, dressers and so much more. Due to its natural look, it is much sought-after by many homeowners. In fact, bamboo is the most economical material available today and makes for a great investment.
If you are looking for something beyond the traditional furniture, you can take a look at bamboo bags and smaller craft items like pen stands and flower vases for your decor. Another decor option that is worth considering is bamboo light fittings. Although they are available in many designs in the market, you also have the option to customise them according to your choice.

* Affordable flooring & blinds — Bamboo flooring offers an affordable and stylish option. This type of flooring is known for its durability, strength, eco-friendliness as well as its natural resistance to insects and moisture. Additionally, it is easy to maintain.

Bamboo roll up blinds are a versatile addition to any window, as they fit in with every decor and are available in a wide variety of sizes. Besides, they are easy to hang and operate.

* A place to party — In case you are considering dedicating a portion of your garden or terrace into a party area, bamboo is the ideal material to build a miniature gazebo, sit-out or tikki bar. And with that, you can showcase a unique party place that everyone is sure to love.

* Fencing — Traditionally, nothing looks as great as a bamboo fencing (which has been our choice for ages). The unavailability of skilled manpower and the restrictions in cutting and selling bamboo has almost pushed us to look for alternatives. Also, rapid urbanisation has erased the beauty of bamboo fences from our minds. In the West, there are readymade bamboo fencing rolls available online as a DIY kit. It’s high time we get a similar solution for the Indian market.

These are just a few ways in which bamboo can be incorporated into your home. However, with something that is as versatile as bamboo, it can be made into almost anything! Blessed as it’s with so many eco-friendly and tensile features, it is time to look at bamboo as a better alternative to the traditional materials we use at home.

(The author is co-founder & MD, feelbambu.com & Bamboooz)

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