Aizawl: There is a special connection between books and coffee. We all know that cozy feeling of holding a warm cup of coffee, slowly sipping it, while turning the pages of our favourite title.
Book cafes are gaining massive popularity across India, and Aizawl is also catching up. On July 13, book lovers of the picturesque capital town of Mizoram in Northeast India got their ‘fix’ when The Book Cafe, Aizawl’s first-ever book cafe, opened its doors to the public. Although the town faced a major power crisis that day, it could not dim the excitement of the bookworms as they flocked together at the cafe.
The ambience was perfect. As the excited guests escaped heavy downpour to a little corner in the city’s centre, they were welcomed by the smell of freshly-brewed coffee and freshly-baked cookies. Just above the coffee and cookie counter were shelves stacked with books from all genres — from Khushwant Singh’s humorous collections to serious writings from Madeleine Albright, classics to various history books and literary works.
Vanlalruata Ralte, owner of the store, said, “I have always wanted to open a book shop since 2007, but have been stalling the plan due to some inconvenience or the other. However, I was determined to open up one after I visited Gangtok’s Rajna book store in 2016.”
As a book store of this kind never existed in Aizawl or anywhere in the state, Ralte and his brothers were really nervous about it. “I believe people who love reading and love food. When I share the idea of opening a book shop with good food and coffee on Instagram, the feedback from the youths was tremendously positive,” he said, adding that finding a perfect discreet place right at the city centre helped.
John, a young guest, said that he read about the cafe in a local paper and immediately came for its grand opening.
Owner Lalrinawma graced the event with prayers and reading of the Holy Scriptures. He proudly stated that though his sons faced some financial problems, it is through sheer hard work and dedication that they were able to complete the cafe. “I’m proud to say that they even prepared all the furniture themselves,” he added.
Two young women, Kate and Irene, happily declared that The Book Café is going to be their safe haven, where they can go and escape from their daily routine.
Ralte also mentioned that the café will also sell books by local writers, creating a platform to promote them as well as encouraging more youths to take up reading habits. He added that after a few months, they will regularly organise poetry-reading events.