It will be hard to find a more interesting story than the one of a poor artisan in the neglected north east corner of India turning towards natural richness for fulfilling his basic needs with relative ease. Dodhi Pathak is a denizen of Nalbari district of Assam in India and was born in a home that was drowned in poverty. Like many underdeveloped pockets in both Africa and South East Asia, development and basic necessities are far off dream in these places. Life was no different for Pathak who could not even afford to buy a used bicycle due to his financial constraints.
But, instead of sulking and giving up on his commuting dream, he decided to make one out himself with the abundant natural bamboo that is available in the region. Since bamboo is plentiful and mostly available for free if you are willing to forge in the forest that surrounds the villages; Dodhi went around collecting and crafting his own bicycle that is entirely made from bamboo. And when we say ‘entirely’, we mean every single aspect of it that includes the chain, the brakes, the suspension and the seats, leaving out the tires.
Being an artisan, he did find the project workable but having absolutely no know how or the means to acquire knowledge on bike designing, it took him several tries to get there. But he did get the commuting vehicle that he wanted eventually and even though the ride is a bit rough, it more than served him well. But crafting bamboo into useful little fixtures is no new think for Pathak.
The man has been turning roots of ‘Mokal’ (a variety of bamboo again) into dentures that cost as little as $1 for molars and half a dollar for front teeth. The artificial bamboo teeth are white and last as long as ten years without any trouble whatsoever. Adversity truly is a master that can open up new avenues if you are willing to be creative and persistent.