The café scene in Guwahati has evolved tremendously from what it was a couple of years ago. Cafes and restaurants these days do not only serve food, they also endorse a lot of important social issues. The Zouq: Resto-Café, Wireless, sets such an example. A conversation with the owner, Miss Intibah Murtafi gives an insight to the uniqueness of the café. The Zouqhas been quiet popular since the time of its inception, mostly so for serving conversations with tea.
Miss Murtafi says that she has always encouraged conversations in the café. In fact they claim that no one remains a guest in The Zouq, they become friends. "We have seen strangers becoming good friends in this space. We have seen people opening up and sharing life problems and feeling better about it. That led us to the idea of having conversation nights in The Zouq," Miss Murtafi says. She further adds that The Zouq offers itself as a space to aspiring youngsters where they can showcase their talents.
Almost every week there are open mics and poetry evenings, organized by young aspirants. The space is given to them free of cost as a contribution to the cause from the café. "I have been interacting with a lot of youngsters since the café happened and I feel youngsters these days have the tendency to feel a lot of things but they do not have a proper medium to communicate those without being judged. In my humble opinion, I honestly believe that conversations and art can help mental well being," the owner states.
One such event was the "KOBITAR MEL 1.0" organised at The Zouq : Resto-Cafe, by Mizaaj Dil Se, a newly established art community in Guwahati. "Poetry" had always been the softest medium to enter people's heart and so was the motive behind the event. The crowd was seen to be more than happy to be a part of the gathering. People from far and wide like Shantipur, Jalukbari,Azara, etc dropped by as a spectator. The Assamese themed ambiance definitely added colours to the evening, a beautiful Horai along with a fulon gamusa and some traditional food items was placed at the center of the cafe. Assamese has been one of most the beautiful languages spoken within India.
Guest artist from different parts of the city were invited to perform beautiful pieces. Well known Poet Mr. Madhu Raghuvendra was invited as a featured speaker for the evening. Mr. Madhu is the founder of Poetry Couture and has also published poetry Books like Make me some love to eat and Stick No bills.
The evening was further brightened when young aspiring artists like Sweety Sarkar, Saurav Mandal, Kunal Talukdar, Parisha Dutta caught the most attention of the crowd. The evening was beautifully hosted by DibakarJyoti Gogoi. Dibakar is a aspiring poet and a final year B.com student at KC DAS COMMERCE COLLEGE.
All the participants and guests were felicitated by the Organising team of MizaajDil Se with few tokens of love and Certificates. Each individual brought out the best that they could and it definitely raised the interest of art. Many deep feelings were shared easily through the medium of poetry in front of an encouraging audience. Not just only the performers but the audience too turned up to speak by the end of the evening and it was a delightful sight to see.
The founder of Mizaaj Dil Se, Samrat Singha says "Writing and speaking are two different things, the one who writes aren't always good speaker and the ones who speak aren't always good writers, we here want to provide just the perfect platform for each individual who wishes to bring out their voice in any medium to the world out there. We are so grateful for The Zouq. Everyone of us feel a definite connect to this place and believe that we got the encouragement to break inhibitions and give expressions to our deepest feelings here."
Mizaaj is not just a poetry organisation, it's more than that, it's all that the creativity brings in. Communities like these help youngsters to bond and create a safe space of their own, where they try to tackle intrinsic lifestyle problems by bonding and sharing.
Besides the involvement with young aspirants, The Zouq: Resto-Café also associates itself with some CSR activities like flood relief, disability campaigns and no food wastage. According to Miss Murtafi, the brain behind most of these social endeavors is her elder sister, Afifa Fatemi who supports some such ventures logistically. She helps deeply with the planning and implementation of the no food wastage campaign launched by The Zouq, whereby arrangements are made within the café to minimize food wastage and also for collection of food materials to help underprivileged.
Who would have thought Cafes can be so much more than serving food?