Q. How will you describe Lahe Lahe to a person who has never visited it?
Lahe Lahe is an Assamese phrase which translates to “Slowly slowly”, but perhaps what it really means to many of its patrons is “At your own pace, be it fast or middling or slow”. A place where you need not worry about the rat race or competition, where you can settle in to your natural rhythms.
You can detect its laidback vibe as soon as you set foot inside the building. In the ground floor you’ll find Lahe Lahe Santhe, a versatile space which houses a cafe, a reading nook, art corners and a boutique store among many other things. Santhe, a Kannada word meaning market or fair (or Haat in Hindi), is designed in a way that helps foster connection and openness. It’s a soothing place many would call their home away from home. Some come here to learn, others to teach; some to work, others to play; some to chill, others to create; some to heal and some others to help. Whatever it is that you want to do, Lahe Lahe provides you a space to pause, breathe, ideate and build.
Lahe Lahe also has a terrace space where various events are held, including poetry circles, theatre performances and contemporary dance classes. There’s something happening every day and there’s something for everyone here. And if you’re inspired to create something, you’re welcome to pitch your ideas to the founders Nikhil and Mansee or their friendly staff; they might be able to help you bring forth your vision!
Built on a solid philosophy of gratitude, give and take and collaboration, Lahe Lahe is a place you come to get away from it all. And yet, far from a vacation, it’s also a place where new ideas, experiences and perspectives are born.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on the community aspect of WOL/ Music Jam? If yes, pl share.
It is no secret that Lahe Lahe values the idea of community-building – one can see it in each and everything you do, from the weekly circles to the gratitude wall. Dean Ornish said that “The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.” Many of Lahe Lahe’s expressions are structured to provide this much needed aspect, something that is rather lacking in our daily lives.
Although it is possible to go it alone, having a supportive, non-judgmental community can make all the difference in the journey of an artist. One can learn and grow, and in turn teach others; give and receive feedback in a space of trust, thus improving their abilities; feel safe enough to be themselves and inspired enough to make more art… The possibilities are endless. Many artists at Write Out Loud and Music Jam will likely attest to how practising in a community has helped them evolve and even branch out to other interests. Moreover, communities like these have led to people making interesting connections and forming new friendships.
As a newcomer, I remember that it was the community aspect of Write Out Loud and Music Jam that made me feel comfortable enough to come back and become a regular. I especially like how the Lahe Lahe team is consciously mindful of creating and maintaining non-judgmental and safe-space communities. Often what cannot be done alone can be done, and done better, when backed by a supportive group. Lahe Lahe communities are a testament to this fact.
Q. Do you think by coming regularly to Lahe Lahe for WOL/ Music Jam, there has been a difference to your writing/ musical skills. If so, how?
My first contact with Lahe Lahe was sometime in mid-2016. I’d heard about the poetry circle, Write Out Loud, and felt pulled to attend a session. I didn’t really think of myself as a poet (or a creator or an artist) back then; I was just an overworked counsellor working stressful long hours and beginning to burn out. I was scared – who did I think I was, joining a circle of poets? I called to confirm that the event was happening, and that I would be participating. And then I never showed up. Perhaps it was the fear, perhaps the exhaustion from my job, but it would be a full year before I’d come back to Lahe Lahe. And I’m glad I did come back.
Even though I was a bit sceptical at first, I soon became a regular at Write Out Loud. Nothing would come in the way of me going there every Tuesday evening – I’d even schedule work around it. At first, I listened in awe to all the poets in the circle. As time passed, I started writing more and more, and started thinking of myself as a poet. Write Out Loud has helped me hone my skill and find a supportive community of poets in Bangalore. Lahe Lahe and the poetry circle were also instrumental in helping me become aware of the vibrant spoken word scene in the city. Much more importantly, it helped me find the discipline to write consistently, a habit that has had the largest influence in my journey in poetry.
When I first heard about Music Jam, I felt tempted to join – and then immediately hesitant. I don’t consider myself a “musical person”. I have a basic sense of rhythm and I love to sing and listen to music, but I don’t play any instrument and I’m a bathroom singer at best. My mind went back to that old refrain – who did I think I was, joining a circle of musicians? It was only after being reassured by Kiran and Shashwath that I went. I remember my first session – I neither uttered a single word nor a single note. I just listened and went home. But I came back – again and again. Today, the Wednesday Music Jam sessions are a gift I give myself – a mid-week stressbuster and a chance to learn singing and playing, at my own pace and from a talented, supportive bunch of people.
Have I improved in poetry/music along the way? I’d say yes. But more importantly, I feel more confident about what I can do. I feel more accepting at where I am right now – be it in poetry or music – and hence less self-conscious. This confidence has impacted all areas of my life – work, personal life, social life. And that, for me, makes an immense difference.
(Shweta Bhat is a regular at Write Out Loud and Music Jams which are hosted every week at Lahe Lahe. Write Out Loud, the poetry circle meets every Tuesday from 7.30- 9.30 pm and Music Jammers meet every Wednesday from 7.30-9.30 pm. )