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Reading with a sip: These cafes lure addicts of books, food and cuppa


PUNE: A lot can happen over coffee, but a lot more can happen over a cuppa and a book. For bookworm-foodies, there probably has never been a better time in the city as a number of cafes have opened up in the last few years to cater to this special breed.

The leisurely atmosphere, co-existence of laughter, food and books, and an eclectic mix of events at these outlets lure connoisseurs and first-timers alike from all corners of the city for a spot of peace.

Abhinav Saladkar has been a regular at Pagdandi Books Chai Cafe in Baner for a few years. Saladkar, an automobile design student, who travels from Kothrud to Pagdandi, says, “I hardly get to read in peace. This place allows me to do just that.”

Many other youngsters like Saladkar either go in alone or with friends to have long conversations without the fear of being asked to leave after their food is eaten, like in regular cafes; and to escape the loud music of pubs.

Cafes like Pagdandi are slowly, but steadily redefining the city’s cultural landscape. Subtle music and informal decor set these places apart. Pune’s dozen-odd such cafes are a boon for the generation that has grown up with e-book readers and I-pads.

Rohan Pagvi travels from Bavdhan to Pagdandi just so he can work in peace. “I love the ambience. I can enjoy my coffee, do my work, grab a bite if I am hungry or just sit for hours with nobody to bother me.”

These reading cafes are also a fresh breath of air for those who feel claustrophobic in libraries with their strict ‘Shhhh…’ rules.

Often, they also conduct reading or poetry sessions, workshops and musical performances.
Subhash Nair, who manages the Pagdandi cafe, says live performances are also a crowd-puller at the cafe.
At Kothrud’s Wari Book Cafe, the walls are adorned with posters of poetry recitations, story-telling sessions and mural painting workshops.

Nestled in the corner of a building and slightly hard to find immediately, this quaint cafe has a modern take on an old-world charm.
Cots, swings, mats and bean bags, besides the usual table-and-chair seating arrangements enhance the cafe’s inside lounge and outdoor facility. Groups sit here on cushions and talk, while some students are bus completing their assignments, a few play chess and many youngsters sit with a cup of coffee or chai in one hand and a book in the other.

“There are no boundaries. Seating is informal and nobody cares how long you stay here,” architect Ronak Naik said.
Another architect Darshan Mahajan adds that it’s not just the ambience which attracts people here. “You subconsciously want to be a part of such groups where a subculture of people with similar tastes come under one roof,” Mahajan says.

Source: Times of India

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