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Pagdandi Books Chai Cafe – My hangout in Pune

As a mom who works from my home office, getting away at least once a week for some ‘me’ time, is so important. And where do I go?  Tucked away in a building not too far away from where I live, is my favorite place in Pune. It’s called Pagdandi – Books Chai Cafe.

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Neha and Vishal complement each other wonderfully! Pagdandi is really their dream coming to life one day at a time!

Like the name suggests, its got books and its got chai or coffee. But Pagdandi is so much more than a library that offers beverages to those who want to sit and enjoy a book there.Vishal and Neha, the young couple who run the place, actually met while backpacking across India. When they settled down together, they envisioned setting up an alternate cafe – and that’s how Pagdandi was born. Pagdandi is an Indian word, which roughly translates to the phrase, ‘off the beaten track’ in English. And that’s just what it is.

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A lovely capture of a quiet day at the cafe. The beautiful DIY lamp and the Post-it thank you notes left by patrons are visible in this picture. Pic by Shoumik De

It’s not your regular library, because noise is allowed (within the limits of decency of course). It’s not your regular coffee/chai shop because you do not sit at a table that is entirely yours. You just grab a free space, or plomp yourself down on a day bed (called diwan in India) and either read, or connect with the co-occupants 🙂 You are in fact encouraged to interact, share views and generally connect with each other. How cool is that!In the background, an amazing selection of world music plays (my favourite time to visit is mornings because Subash who handles the back office and kitchen at that time loves Latino music) and I enjoy the songs he plays. Normally an introvert, I absolutely love the possibility of meeting new and interesting people each time I visit. I have also made some great friends here!

Subhash and Alam, the very capable staff at Pagdandi in this pic by Ajay Patel

Authors Gouri Dange & Shobha Bondre in converstion on the topic, “Can you make a living out of writing?”

Pagdandi offers me much more than a hangout haven. I belong to a writer’s club that meets at Pagdandi every Sunday morning. We sit together, write, then share our work and offer inputs and encouragement to each other over cups of our favorite brew. On alternate Thursdays, at 9 pm there is a group of musicians who set up their instruments just outside the cafe and entertain a crowd of music lovers.

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A Shavita (Shayri+kavitha) session in progress

The last Sunday of the month hosts “Shavita”  -Urdu poems curated and read out by my friends Jay Shah, Preyas Hathi and Kulbeer Dodd. There are also art classes by Ruve and Nachiketh, story telling sessions that are enjoyed by kids and adults alike, book readings, political debates, poetry slam events, plays, talks on health and good living, and so much more!

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Shardul Bapat, Shivm Shnkr and Saket Gaikwad at the Thu night Music Jamming event

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This is my favorite place to sit when I visit the cafe.Art work for sale is displayed on the right wall. The cosy nook in the wall has games and wooden toys, as well as props that visitors can help themselves to. Pic: Shoumik De

On their cafe menu, Pagdandi offers a limited, but carefully curated selection of food made by home bakers, home chefs, or put together by the staff here. My favorite thing on their menu are the brownies – they are made really well, and I often pack a few to take home to my family. My kids also love to drop in and have their favorite frozen yoghurt here.

Kala Ramesh holds a Haiku workshop for us members of the Pagdandi Writers’ Club.

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Bun maska chai, the most popular item on the menu. Patrons can go a step further by sponsoring a charity chai.

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My kids’ favorite – the frozen yoghurt. It’s goodness  whipped fresh every day, and served in an eco-friendly bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a decor blogger, how can I write about a place and not mention the decor? Pagdandi promotes Indian and local artisans, designers and fabric. The furniture is made of upcycled or eco-friendly material, and you will see bamboo in the decor. The bright yellow walls, the eclectic selection of accessories ranging from a teal green bell to  a DIY lamp, a lovely blackboard and some really fun stuff on display, lovely Indian block print fabric on the chairs and cushions, the place has a homey, warm, stylishly comfy feel to it.

The tinkling of the bell when someone walks in, the whirring of the coffee machine, and the rustling of magazine pages…Pagdandi is an experience! The food is amazing, the company is warm, with strangers acknowledging each other with a nod, or joining you at your table for a conversation. It’s where I have met the most interesting people I know in Pune. Kids are welcome, and there are kids’ books, toys, board games and events for kids.

Community Storytelling Circle

A community story-telling event in progress.

I love the inclusivity of the place, and I would love for you to visit it when you are in Pune next.

Pagdandi Books Chai Cafe, Regent Plaza, Baner Pashan Link Road, Pune – 21
FACEBOOK             WEBSITE
 Cover pic: Shoumik De
This post has been co-ordinated for Turo’s Hidden Gem car rental community.

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11 Responses so far.

  1. Latha Pai says:

    Nice … Keep noticing it now and then on the Pune mirror. Sounds grt!

    • sharon dsouza says:

      Latha! When you are this side of town, please drop in. I will accompany you to Pagdandi 🙂 You will love the selection of books, and absolutely want to move back to this part of town asap! 🙂

  2. priyanka says:

    Loved the article and such a cute tiny spot. I’ll surely visit this place. Thanks for introducing!

  3. Very nice Sharon; thanks for sharing!

  4. Great post Sharon. You truly captured the essence and spirit of it.

  5. Meera says:

    Lovely write-up. I wish I could stop by right now! But I would need to be tele-ported in that case!

  6. Sukey says:

    It’s good to see someone thkinnig it through.


About sharon dsouza

Sharon DSouza owns and writes this blog. A mother of two, she is based in Pune, and works as a content strategist. She is a coffee-lover and writer, so it is but natural that she is a regular at her writers’ club which meets in a coffee shop every Sunday. She is also a home baker, and loves to travel!

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