Located in Indiranagar, Lahe Lahe is a community space that has been created to provide moments of peace and happiness amidst a busy city life. Lahe Lahe is an Assamese phrase that translates to ‘slowly slowly’ to remind people to take in their moments more mindfully. Nikhil Thard and his wife Mansee Thard came up with the idea when they realised how busy everybody was. “It is just that everybody is so caught up in earning, or bringing up their children that they have to give up on their passions or hobbies,” said Mansee, adding that Lahe Lahe is a space that you can head to after a tiring day of work. “People usually go out to dinner, or to watch a movie to unwind. Relaxation isn’t always that, creativity really gives peace to the soul,” she said. The space hosts a variety of different pottery workshops, poetry readings, anecdote- sharing, music-jams through the course of the week and has even been made wheelchair accessible to truly accommodate everybody.
Designed to lead people on a journey of self-discovery, Shoonya located on Lalbagh Road provides a space for performing arts. Founded in 2014 by the Ollapally family in memory of their deceased son Joseph Ollapally, the space has massive studios with sprung wood flooring, tailored to fit the needs of contemporary dancers. “Since we are a non-profit, our focus is on keeping the rental prices low, so we are very popular among prominent dance groups in the city,” said Shashi Muddappa, the general manager of the space. Apart from providing space for rehearsal, Shoonya also conducts a variety of workshops and classes to enable people to experience their bodies in differential ways. The Movement Playground is a regular programme at the space and is intended to provide insight into the mobility and range of the body. Speaking of the City, another regular program hosted at Shoonya, is a chance for prominent people – supercops, authors, architects to come together and share their stories with localites about their experience in the city. “The space really transforms when people are here, and as a result, we don’t need to publicise our events, word-of-mouth is sufficient,” said Muddappa.
The Courtyard Cafe
Serving a blend of art, culture, and chai, the Courtyard Cafe is an open space that welcomes folk who are well-travelled and are partial to music, art, and poetry. The Courtyard provides an oasis of open space on the busy Lalbagh Road, and is designed to put people at ease with its green spaces and natural lighting. Hosting up to three events in a week, Charu Mittal, the head of marketing at the venue, says that there is a lot that goes into the curation of events at the space. “We either approach artistes in the city and invite them to perform or exhibit in the space or do background research for people who approach us. Our regulars have come to expect a certain standard from us that we intend to maintain,” she said. Modelled on the lines of the art-cafes of Paris, the Courtyard has an art gallery, a space for film screenings and a cafe that plays jazzy tunes that touch the soul.
The Bohemian House
Tucked away in a quiet corner in the compound of Hotel Woodlands, is the Bohemian House, a platform for the creative minds. The Bohemian House has opened to the public just about two years ago after the heritage space was restructured to welcome artists, poets, and designers Varun Hemachandran, the future business strategist said, “every element of The Bohemian House is handmade. Our owner Shalini is also an interior designer and she pieced together many artifacts. All the pots are from small businesses, our artists also traveled across Asia and learned traditional art-forms by staying with the artists.” The Bohemian House also doubles as a co-working space on weekdays for companies in the creative ecosystem. On the weekends, space hosts a variety of art and dance workshops apart from hosting community events like board gaming sessions. Hemachandran emphasised that the Bohemian House values inclusivity — 56 percent of the team is composed of women, seven percent of transgender people, and the rest of men. “It makes the space more welcoming,” he added. The space also hosts events that are centered around sustainability, and mental health.
Subodh Sankar and Lakshmi Sankar always wanted to create a place that was an amalgamation of food, books and events, and in 2012, Atta Galatta was born. “We began at a time where bookstores were facing difficulties. Many of them were closing down. My husband and I wanted to bring people back to bookstores. The events and the cafe helped for it,” said Lakshmi. Located in Koramangala, Atta Galatta has had a steady growth. “Seven years ago, the space hosted an event once in four months. Now, an event is scheduled almost every week,” Lakshmi explained, adding they only take up events that suit the intimate ambiance that is characteristic of the place. The ambiance is one that loyalists keep coming back. The recurring events such as the Bangalore Poetry Festival, Dum Duma Duma—a theatre festival, have gained a reputation in the city. Ultimately apart from having a wide spectrum of events, Atta Galatta as the name suggests—“is a place that everyone can come to have fun, and more importantly, it is a place where you can spend the entire day creatively,” Lakshmi says.