City Notebook – Cafe Commune Opening Night

The Karachi Walla drove to Mehmoodi Street in North Nazimabad Block-J to witness the opening night of Cafe Commune, a community space and cafe. It was a long and unpleasant drive as one would expect during Saturday evening in Karachi. We arrived late but luckily did not miss much as the event had started late.

This was my first ever visit to the neighborhood. Mehmoodi Street is a quiet street. The houses are compact but look pleasant with decent open spaces. They are not crowded like houses in Gulshan and are not soulless like those in Defence. It was not hard to find Cafe Commune in Mehmoodi street. It was buzzing with energy and it lit up the space in front of it.

The thing about stepping out of one’s neck of the woods is that you get to see new faces and I was very much looking to see and meet new people. Someone greeted us and showed us the directions to the event hall. There were people and lots of people, most of them in their mid twenties. We could not find space in the event hall so we loitered around for a bit in what looked like TV lounge as per the original layout. There were portraits of important historic figures most probably painted by Feica who happens to be on the advisory board of cafe also. More people poured in which pushed us back to the event hall and we luckily found space this time. At that moment, ever so brilliant Fawad Khan – Dastan go and theater actor – was performing Ismat Chughtai’s Amar bail. I was listening to him after a while. He was good. He has gotten better. The story telling session was followed by poetry recital and there were some powerful performances. Attiya Dawood, Ali Arqam, Waheed Noor, Shane Hussain, Neel Ahmed and Zulfiqar Mannan recited their pieces with some also choosing to read intikhaab from great Urdu poet’s works. I could see Arieb Azhar in distance. He was set to perform after the poetry recitals.

There was a break after the session and we stepped out towards the patio which was already crowded. The patio is perhaps the most lively part decorated with murals and fairy lights and buzzing with the energy of discussions around the tables. The menu of cafe however was quite bland with very few items. Looked like that the team behind Cafe Commune focused more on the launch activities and giving the space a creative look. They definitely need to invest time to upgrade the menu now!

Cafe commune is a welcome addition to the community spaces of Karachi. We all know that we need much more of such spaces but we also know that running such spaces is financially tough. Cafe Commune’s launch is a success but its journey has just started. Cafe Commune will surely draw comparisons to T2f, which set very high standards of a community space in Karachi and its heartening to see such great minds on advisory panel. Cafe Commune will surely benefit from rich experience of its advisory panel.

Categories: City Notebook

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One Comment on “City Notebook – Cafe Commune Opening Night”

  1. S Zafar Iqbal
    August 8, 2018 at 10:20 am #

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop about social and cultural activities in the city.
    It is heartening to see that cultural and literary voices are finding new venues for expression and social life is still alive and well in a city that is otherwise so depressingly mired in so many problems.

    Kudos to all these bold souls who have the vision and the courage to keep the cultural and literary spirit alive in such adverse and difficult circumstances.

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