Ezrela Daldia Fanai
There is a special connection between books and coffee. We all too familiar of that cozy feeling one gets from holding a warm cup of coffee, slowly sipping it down while turning the pages of our favorite books.
Book cafes are gaining massive popularity across India, and Aizawl popped up on the map on July 13, 2019, when ‘The Book Café’ opened its doors to book lovers across the city.
The ambiance at the café is perfect. Even the location is ideal. Situated at Aizawl’s centre of Chanmari locality, when one walks down the corner and into the café, one escapes from all the bustling noises of the city.
The owner Vanlalruata Ralte greets all book lovers with his freshly baked pastries and cheesecakes with a warm cup of soul-warming coffee.
On the upper deck of the store, shelves are stacked with books from all genres- from Kushwant Singh’s humorous collections, serious writings from Madeleine Albright, classics like Pride and prejudice to various history books and works of literature. The owner proudly highlights that the café also sells books by local writers, creating a platform to promote them as well as encouraging more youths to take up reading.
Guests can either buy these books or sit down and enjoy them with their cup of coffee.
The owner of the store Vanlalruata Ralte said, “I have always wanted to open a book shop since 2007, but have stalled the plan due to some inconveniences. But I was determined to open up one after I visited Gangtok’s Rajna book store in 2016.”
As a book store of this kind has never existed in Aizawl or anywhere in the state, Vanlalruata and his brothers were nervous about it. He said, “I believe people who love reading love food. When I share the idea of opening a book shop with good food and coffee on Instagram, the feedbacks from the youth was tremendously positive.” He added that finding a perfect discreet place right at the city centre helped.
But he sadly added that the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in the State have impacted his business too. “These days, guests are unable to visit the store to read. They place an order of their choices and I just deliver it to their home,” Vanlalruata said.
Vanlalruata also said that due to the pandemic they are no longer able to organize poetry reading sessions, which is a huge loss for the artistic crowd. “We are looking forward normally again,” he added.
Let us hope till then the aroma of the book café remains intact.