Sometimes all you need to unwind is a cup of coffee and a good book–that’s exactly what cafe Books & Coffee is offering locals in Imphal. Started by Beeshantam Yumnam, the cafe boasts of a cozy ambience and a great collection of books. Beeshantam’s love for books is mirrored in the cafe’s warm interiors, its rare collection of books and a welcoming environment for people of all ages.
His vision of creating a space where people can relax, learn, enjoy and create art has materialized in the cafe. He says, “I hope people take home the feeling of relaxing in a cozy ambiance for chilling out and appreciation of the arts. Many customers praise us for giving a platform to arts and providing a wholesome experience. We hope to keep giving that experience!”
Hello, please introduce yourself to our readers
Hello, thanks for having me. I am Beeshantam Yumnam from Imphal, Manipur, a history graduate from Delhi University but an artist by passion. On returning home in 2010 after graduating, I realized that the types of books available in Imphal were mainly textual or curriculum-based and there was a dearth of leisure books. I wanted to close the gap and also instill reading habits by making them easily available and also provide a comfy place. There was absolutely no active café scene back then and I wanted to give people the comfort of chilling out in a café with a good book in one hand while sipping hot coffee or tea. Books & Coffee finally materialized and opened in 2013 and became an instant hit.
What makes Books & Coffee special?
Books & Coffee is situated right in the heart of the city and has 3 floors. The ground floor functions as a books and stationery store which also provides books on rent at nominal cost and a wide range of genres is available here – classics, poetry, history, philosophy, fiction, non-fiction, popular science, books on northeast, comics, children’s books to name a few.
1st floor is the café where we serve choice beverage and delectable food, and the second-floor studio hosts various regular events like performances, poetry sessions, art exhibitions, meetings, book reading sessions, book launches etc. We also give drawing and violin classes every Sunday. People come to us looking for books of local authors and rare ones telling us that they were referred here by others. We feel validated!
What do you hope people take away from your cafe?
I hope people take home the feeling of relaxing in a cozy ambiance for chilling out and appreciation of the arts. Many customers praise us for giving a platform to arts and providing a wholesome experience. We hope to keep giving that experience!
What has been your driving force or your biggest inspiration?
When it came to deciding my path, I didn’t want to be part of the rat race. I decided to be my own master and create my own path. Before starting my book café, I was involved with theatre, which took me to different parts of the world. I got to learn and understand other cultures, which gave me the real courage to start my venture. It gave me a broader outlook of the world and everything seemed possible.
How do you think your roots have influenced your work ethics?
Things were very simple and easy when we grew up. We had no major distractions in the form of mobile phones or video games. Books, comics were a major source of entertainment for us and it taught us how to be patient, how to be creative. It created a niche world where we could get lost and get wild with our imagination. Sadly, this is mostly lost now with tech taking over and bookstores taking the back seat. I have always wanted the younger generation to experience the journey of a book and also make them accessible to them.
Thank you Beeshantam, lastly any message to our readers?
Do follow your passion and believe in yourself!
We wish Beeshantham a very bright future. You can follow the awesome cafe on Instagram
Address: BOOKS & COFFEE Singjamei Thokchom leikai Opp Yumnam leikai lairembi lampak Imphal, Manipur-795001
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