Crossing unfamiliar Bengaluru roads, my mind thinking a thousand things per minute, I check Google maps one more time. “We’re close” I think to myself while zooming past people & vehicles, unable to grasp anything that lies outside my auto.
I finally reach my destination and there it is, the place I’d heard a lot about but hadn’t yet formed much of an impression of. A board outside a pale building reads “Lahe Lahe Santhe” in a large and clear font and I softly chuckle at the sound the word makes as I pronounce it out loud. I make a mental note to check the meaning of it and then removing my shoes, I step on to the soft wooden floor, with a smile. My eyes turn ablaze as I look around and through the prism forming at the corner of my eye, I try to take it all in – the bamboo lamps hanging all around, the low wooden tables with seating on the floor, a cozy little cafe counter on one corner and quirky merchandise on another.
It comes as a surprise at first, to be honest. It’s hard to believe that I’ve come to such a beautiful space for board-games. Hell, I wanted to tie a pair of ghungroo and take chakkars around the entire space. I get a tingly feeling at the thought and the place in front of me reminds me of two things at the same time. Beauty and comfort. Conflicting, I thought.
But then it gets better, I learn that Lahe Lahe (an Assamese term meaning ‘slowly slowly’) is an artist’s community holding over 130 events, a month including pottery workshops, music jams, poetry evenings, dance classes and about a dozen other activities, that make me want to shriek with excitement.
I’m instantly proud of myself for discovering a place like this and decide in the first ten minutes. Yes, in the first ten minutes of being inside Lahe Lahe Santhe, I announce to the friend who I came with, and about 20 others standing around, “I am coming here every day.”
No kidding. Why wouldn’t you? You can just come in, grab a comforting cuppa-joe, a muffin to go along, a book that smells of home or a paint-brush if you’re feeling extra creative and just be. Be in the comfort of art and expression to reconnect with the good things in life. Spend time in silence or with company. But you spend that time, the way you want to and not how you spend the rest of your time, running and running and just running.
Running your mind, running yourself and yet never really getting anywhere. When I got to Lahe Lahe, it was like I have arrived. I’ve found my favorite corner in the city that I’ve hardly come to know in the last two months and I knew I wasn’t going to be close anytime soon, if it weren’t for this place.
The place where you can still find friends and not just people you work with, or share the gym with. A place where you form real connections- where you bond over creating a clay pot or sharing a travel story, you bond over favourite books or movies or those meaningless anecdotes. Lastly, you bond over art and expression. And you value it, because you know you don’t find it outside anymore. It’s a lost cause amongst all the noise there is. So if the city is a cruel Monday, Lahe Lahe is a vacation up on the hills – It’s rejuvenating, it’s productive and it’s where you’d just rather always be!
Creating, expressing, and simply, living.