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  Books   20 Jun 2018  A bookish affair

A bookish affair

THE ASIAN AGE. | CHERYLANN MOLLAN
Published : Jun 20, 2018, 12:39 am IST
Updated : Jun 20, 2018, 12:39 am IST

Megha hopes the hashtag TheCoffeeExchange will help drive support for the initiative.

The books collected will go to children who are part of Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Art and Media Academies.
 The books collected will go to children who are part of Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Art and Media Academies.

A city cafe has come up with a unique initiative, #TheCoffeeExchange, which will delight coffee lovers, while also benefitting underprivileged children. Are you ready to help out a fellow reader in need?

The downside to being a book lover is that your shelves, cupboards and every inch of free space get inundated with books. When this happens, we lose track of the books we have and many intelligent reads go unread for months, or even years. The average bibliophile is too possessive over his books to think of throwing away any, and too proud to acknowledge that he has more books than he can remember.

To save us bookworms from this conundrum, Poetry by Love and Cheesecake in Kala Ghoda has come up with a unique initiative that helps us lighten the load on our bookshelves, without gaining a heavy heart. #TheCoffeeExchange is a month-long initiative that encourages customers to donate books in exchange for a free coffee. But more than the free coffee, what’s delightful about this initiative is that it aims to improve the futures of children belonging to the Salaam Bombay Foundation. Because, as Megha Iyer, team member of Poetry by Love and Cheesecake, says, “All the books collected will be donated to the Salaam Bombay Foundation. You can step in between 4 and 7 pm, from Monday to Friday to drop in a book and enjoy a free coffee.”

This seems like an unconventional thing for an eatery to do, for, why would a café serving gourmet desserts think of giving out free coffee for nothing more than a book? As Megha reveals, the idea came about as a way to ‘give back to the area’. Explaining this further, Megha says, “We just opened a branch in Kala Ghoda, and the response has been phenomenal. So we wanted to do something for people here. That’s why we chose Salaam Bombay Foundation, which is based in the area.” But, that’s not the only reason for choosing the organisation. “As a team, we feel deeply about any activity related to children. The chef, Amit Sharma, has a five-year-old daughter and so, he too is very close to any cause regarding children,” says Megha.

What kind of books are they looking out for? Well, anything from fictional novels and fairytales to educational books on science and technology, basically, books that will arouse the interest and curiosity of a child. “It should be something that a child under 17 years of age would like to read,” says Megha. The best part about this drive is that there is no minimum number of books that should be donated, just as there is no cap on the maximum number that can be donated. The books collected will go to children who are part of Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Art and Media Academies.

Rohit Sharma, a consultant in resource development at Salaam Bombay Foundation, tells us more about the recipients of these books. He says, “The Foundation has four academies, among which are the Media and Art Academies, where we instruct children in journalism, photography, dance and theatre, music, etc. The books will be distributed among children from these two academies. About 500 children stand to benefit from this drive.” Rohit is also very positive about the initiative as he says, “This is a wonderful initiative and we are happy to be associated with it. Through this drive, children who are otherwise unable to afford books will get a chance to access them. They can study and learn something new. When people come forward and support this kind of drives, it motivates us to do more for children belonging to underprivileged families.”

Megha hopes the hashtag TheCoffeeExchange will help drive support for the initiative. She urges book donors to use it generously so that the initiative gains visibility. “I hope people participate because I feel we should all contribute to society in whatever ways we can. It could be your opportunity to give back,” she says. Well, for the love of books, Mumbaikars, don’t shy away from lightening those bookshelves, and donating generously to the cause!

Tags: kala ghoda, intelligent, cheesecake, salaam bombay foundation