Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brotherhood (maybe even sisterhood) of the cafe

I have always preferred to work out of cafes. There is some romanticism about working from a cafe - a sort of uber coolness about telling the stuffed shirts that old classmates have become, that you 'work' from coffee shops while they slog away in tiny air conditioned cubes in glass buildings. Even the Rowling lady wrote the first few installments of Harry Potter in a cafe in her neighbourhood.

There used to be a time when I used to be the lone guy in the corner with a laptop slogging away, often referring to notes on sheets of paper. Proudly telling people how I wrote the basic businessplan of a venture on the back of a tray mat at the Shivaji Park Barista in mid Mumbai.

Now even the Mahaveer Nagar Cafe Coffee Day has atleast four people working at any given time. The rest of the cafe crowd ignores us. Sundry couples think of us as nothing more than furniture and I suspect the staff thinks of us as some strange animals. But the brotherhood of the cafe grows stronger. In the last 6 months that I have been working from home and cafes, I have made friends who are joined by the murkiness of the coffee we drink and the one plug point we share. One of us has even invested in a multipoint outlet so that the one power plug point can be shared by atleast 6 people at the same time. We have shared anti virus software, video conversion software and even notepads, though I may never know all of them by name.

We share the burden of the traffic of Mumbai, of not wanting to be stranded on the road wasting hours getting to work, when work can be done at these cheery bright cool coffee shops.

If you pay attention to the spillover conversation you will realise that the sales of cosmetics is down by 24% in the festive season. That cost per square feet of a flat in Charkop is about 200 bucks lower than Kandivali. That dal wada in Poisar at 4 pm is best had with adrak waali chai.

I think one of these days I will start a community of people who work on cafes all over the world. For just a dollar you can access credits and discounts to the chai and food - payable via your mobile phone.

Any VCs listening?

1 comment:

KAVEETA said...

This post of urs may lead to write a grant for sitting in a coffee shop all day for six months?

i think i’ll plan on having my coffee... great post!