When it comes to having heart-to-heart conversations, humans have a knack for making connections. Feeling comforted, understood, and empathized with, is something every one of us aspires for deep within our hearts. 

Especially when books are involved, reading and having mental soliloquies by ourselves seem fun until the chance of having full-on debates and discussions regarding the characters, plot, writing scheme, and critical appreciation is presented forth. 

The Much Needed Updated Library

Thanks to Ayush Keshri, an alumnus of Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi has its first Human Library Cafe. This cafe, unlike any other, is a new venture into the mystical world of literature and human wisdom.

Ayush Keshri, the man behind the Human Library Cafe in Varanasi

Molted together to present a whole new world of conversations that not only empower but also uplift, the cafe aims to create a platform to allow people to fully express themselves, read to their heart’s content, and get an opportunity to combine their opinions and thoughts with distinguished personalities.

Keeping the spirit alive, this sufficiently lit cafe with its cute decor piques the interest of passersby along with that of readers from all over the city. 

It has been set up by Abhiprerana ATE World Talk, a startup headed by Ayush which has received support from the Indian Institute of Technology, BHU.

Read More: Once Upon  A Sunday – May Day Book Cafe

Idea Behind The Start-Up

“The idea is to create an alternative for young people where information and knowledge sharing can be carried out easily. For recreational purposes, we have clubs and bars but we do not have such a universal forum for interactions and meaningful conversations apart from educational institutions. We, thus, introduced ‘human books’ besides conventional publications,” said Ayush during an interview.

Various authors, doctors, professors, scientists, and government officials are regularly invited to the cafe to share their experiences and give an insight to all the members present for a better, and extended view of the world and life itself.

As for the revenue model, Ayush talked about the beverages and meals within the menu to cover the everyday expenses and explained the subscription plan for 3 months at Rs. 1,100.

He said that after becoming a member, one can get access to all the events and thereby avail discounts on purchasing books and meals within 90 days period.

The schedule is set and is not subjected to change unless under dire circumstances. Mondays and Tuesdays are for workshops, Wednesday and Thursday are for open-mic events (to share stories, sketch, paint, sing and recite poems), and the weekends are for guest interaction.

A poster in use by the cafe for one of its meet and greet events that is to take place in May

Even more, Ayush guarantees transportation and hospitality expenses of the guests to be borne by the cafe.

Reminiscing about the various interviews he took of distinguished personalities during his college days, he commented that those days shaped his mind and encouraged him to move forward, thereby exploring and expanding his horizons.  

He has interviewed Javed Akhtar, Kailash Kher, CNR Rao, and Pandit Birju Maharaj in the past and feels extremely grateful to them. A project that’s both profitable for him and the community is what he aimed for when the idea of the human library cafe struck him.

Ayush Keshri during an interview with Javed Akhtar

Ending the interview on a beautiful note, Ayush opined, “Human aspect is very crucial. No matter the extent of digitization, certain aspects remain irreplaceable. Watching videos on gadgets can never match the intimacy of one-on-one interactions. It builds community.”

A glimpse of the Human Library Cafe in Delhi

Image Source: Google Images

Sources: All Events, Daily Hunt, Human Library Cafe

Find The Blogger: @evidenceofmine

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