The thought of a lazy weekend afternoon with some comfort food and classic literature is often enticing and a new cafe in Saket, New Delhi, promises exactly this. If you are trying to break the image of being a homebound bookworm who hardly sees the sun, here’s your chance at redemption. This quaint, cosy place in Said ul Ajab, located right at the turn, is hard to miss. From the outside, you can see the ceiling-high bookshelf through its glass walls.
Perhaps India’s first concept cafe that gives customers a book to take with them for every order they place, The Nerdy Indian Cafe is true to its name, attracting the book nerd with a craving for food that is as global as it is Indian.
The 15- to 20-seater cafe encourages solo travellers, families, couples, friends, students, basically, everyone who loves reading…and for free. All you have to do is enjoy some delicious Nutella paratha, mango kheer or Dhaba dal-and-rice and pick up a book after paying a minimum bill of Rs 500. “You can actually build your own library if you eat here every day,” jokes Ayush Choudhary, co-founder of this cute cafe.
It has been just over a month since they opened and the owners already have interesting anecdotes to share that has left them overwhelmed. “One morning, around 8 am, we got a call from a lady from Gurgaon who asked when did the cafe open as she wished to donate some books,” said Ayush. She had only heard about the cafe and impressed by the idea, ended up donating around 60 books or her “precious babies”.
The cafe, high on aesthetics and with a relaxed vibe, has gained followers on Instagram as well. “One man called, asking if our place was disabled-friendly and we said yes, since there is only one step to manage. It was also an emotional moment for us to have a woman visit us simply because she read about us on social media,” shares Ayush.
“We are seeing such responses from across the country, not just Delhi-NCR. Young authors, who want to be part of this reading community, are sending us their books from Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, etc. As an author, it’s an interesting experiment to see how many people pick up their book,” he added.
One wonders about their plans to run a profitable venture, considering the classic literature adorning their walls may burn a hole in their pockets. “We might not be big changemakers, but we want to bring back the original concept of cafes, which were centred around books and light meals. With the free wifi, one can watch Netflix, etc, but books have a different sentiment attached, which we wish to bring back,” claims the proud owner.