Friday, July 27, 2012

Stolen Coffee Room

The ‘Stolen Coffee room’ is a coffee shop which has most of its furniture and the art that fills its walls from Chor Bazaar. Now, that is something new, but that this coffee shop with the ambience and charm of a European café is in Nerul, that is “most unusual”. If you’ve lived in Bombay 15 years before or if you grew up in Bombay before then, you would know what I mean!!

It was a complete revelation to visit Nerul this time I went to Bombay, having lived away for many years now. It’s a relatively new suburb of Bombay. I grew up in Sion and for many living in South Bombay then, Sion was a suburb they had never been to and Nerul is further North! Today, Nerul has modern residential complexes and interesting restaurants that you would want to travel through the city’s traffic to get to (from South Bombay!) Thanks to Anjali who invited me to lunch at the Bangali Mashi's kitchen off Palm Beach road and then to coffee afterwards introducing me to two great places in one afternoon and simultaneously to the changing landscape of the city! You can already read Anjali's totally absorbing post Friendly Neighbourhood Bangali Mashi's Kitchen at her blog dedicated to food Anna Parabhahma. I also liked what Anjali has to say about the Stolen coffee room, to read more on that, you can go here: Lost my heart to the Stolen Coffee room

I’m happy to write this post and include it here on this blog because the ‘Stolen Coffee Room’ has a connection to the Bazaar. As it’s name suggests, it has been designed and put together from selecting objects from Chor Bazaar, which supposedly had stolen items for sale in the old days, though today it is the place to buy antiques in Bombay. I’ve written earlier about Chor Bazaar at Bollywood Posters and Bazaar Tour 2: Antiques Mumbai

Coming back to our coffee shop with its chor bazaar ancestry, it’s design concept is interesting. Not every table at the Stolen Coffee Room looks like another. Each table is a different one. The chairs are all different. As you sit in the café with your cup of coffee, you wonder where that chair has been before, did it belong to another café or was it a family that used it in their home before it was found at Chor Bazaar. There is history behind each painting on the wall, inside every kettle in the glass cupboard.

The other day, a friend who has grown up in Bombay but now lives in Bangalore talked of her excitement at seeing the new “high-end” coffee shop come up opposite her parents’ house in Hill road. “You know, the kind where you get a pastry for Rs.150!” she had said. She was so surprised to find how this once simple Hill road lane had changed with these “high-end” coffee shops coming up in locations where there had once been businesses with “immoral” activities; where brand showrooms had been willing to pay exhorbitant real estate prices for a space in a building which she so clearly remembers from her childhood to be a “panvati” building (That’s Bombay terminology for a building with a curse on it). These changes in old neighbourhoods were becoming more frequent and quite drastic.

Here, in Bangalore, we have been closely watching the changes that have been taking place in the ‘Adigas lane’ – that’s the lane off Bannerghatta road, close to the Arakere gate signal junction. Most of us here call it by this name because of the fast food restaurant ‘Adigas’. It occupies a place close to the corner property. Beyond that and away from the main road were independent houses. It was a quiet lane when we first moved here five years ago. Then, gradually, a Baskin Robbins came up, the vada-pav chain – Goli Pav, the Juhu Bombay Naturals Ice cream parlour, the Lakme Salon moved here. Further down, a gym has opened up and the library chain Just Books and now the Cuppa coffee shop which will be ‘opening soon’. All of this in the last five years.

There is so much that is happening in our lives. There are the old neighbourhoods that are changing rapidly and the new neighbourhoods that are leaping forward. We are becoming a consumerist society and our streets and neighbourhoods seem to mirror it all. You can look into this mirror and think 'our cities are changing' or you can look into it and think 'we are changing, did we want to?'

Related post:
Design Inspiration from the Bazaar

(Anjali, thanks for letting me take pictures with your camera and for your photograph of the blue facade!)

5 comments:

Anjali said...

I was so kicked about those two places and I already imagined you writing about it here! My post will be published tonite and will back link here. About the credits, anything for you. Thanks for the link love too.

R Niranjan Das said...

Interesting coffee shop and a nice post.

www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

Divenita said...

I always like your posts but this one was more of a personal one i felt.
Nice to read esp. these lines:There is so much that is happening in our lives. There are the old neighbourhoods that are changing rapidly and the new neighbourhoods that are leaping forward. We are becoming a consumerist society and our streets and neighbourhoods seem to mirror it all. You can look into this mirror and think 'our cities are changing' or you can look into it and think 'we are changing, did we want to?'

radha said...

I have not lived in Bombay, but can connect with the post. As we grow older, I find myself thinking more and more about these little places that we used to visit ( not frequent - like the young do these days). Everything has changed. Even old furniture makes you feel good just like an old photograph!

Indian Bazaars said...

Anjali: It was great that you planned this, thanks!

R Niranjan Das: Thankyou.

Divenita: Sometimes wonder if just thinking about it is enough, but anyways, I guess we can only do what we can do.

Radha: I did like so much your likening old furniture to an old photograph and how they seem to affect us.