Anvesh Alluri is a survivor, even if he doesn’t see himself as one. After going through the usual rigmarole of completing his B Tech, he went on to do his MS in the United States, but all the while held on to his dreams — one of which was always to work in films, while the other was to build a space for the arts to promote creativity, discussion and a sense of community.
From this dream was born Aaromalé, a café and community space he started with three friends, where as he puts it, “you don’t just come to drink coffee but to immerse yourself in an experience.” That experience is of culture, the arts, design and ecological living.
The beautiful old house he and his friends took over on a long lease and have re-done now has among other things, a local organisation sourcing products from North-East tribals; artisans looking at zero waste through the use of bamboo and which actually mills flour you can buy; a ceramic potter; a performance space that can be hired out at a nominal rate; an open garden for events; an adorable streetie pup called Jojo and a little, injured kitten who walked in recently.
The way this café is coming together (it hopes to be fully functional by the end of the month, if not the year) is a rare combination of serendipity and deep, dialogic thinking. Alluri reveals that the end result is the outcome of workshops, discussions and the unique vision that individual people have brought in to the space.
“We have guests who also became our mentors over the course of time. One of them is an organic farmer with a moringa farm who helped us understand permaculture. We had another guest from a PWC incubation cell who introduced us to the start-up ecosystem here in Hyderabad,” narrates Alluri. The vision is incredible for a more or less thoughtless city that is facing innumerable challenges. Zero plastic use — especially single-use plastic — an engagement with the elements, which is incorporated into their monogram and a desire to keep it accessibly cheap are just some of the defining elements of Aaromalé.
In fact, the soft-spoken, charming Alluri is happier talking about all the people involved in Aaromalé rather than himself. “We want to activate all the five senses of the people who come in here,” he says, adding, “I am not important, the space is.”
But people like Anvesh Alluri are important, especially since he represents the kind of Hyderabadi and the kind of Indian we desperately need and want, if we want to have a future at all....