A one-of-its-kind Music Cafe in Pune offers therapeutic Indian classical music on its menu!
Situated amidst the lush greenery and cosy lanes of Pune’s Law College Road is a curious musical experiment. Lying low among the trees that surround the little bungalow, Music Cafe has a lot to serve on a platter: relaxation, anger management, concentration improvement, positivity, stress relief and confidence boost, among many other ‘recipes.’
Music Cafe offers a vast menu of Indian musical pieces, curated and designed to provide a therapeutic experience to the listener, along with food and beverages.
The recently opened cafe is the brainchild of music therapist Santosh Ghatpande, music enthusiast Anand Kolharkar and Hindustani classical vocalist Sawani Ghatpande.
“Why would I need therapy; I am perfectly alright, one would ask. But let me make it clear that here at Music Cafe, we are not talking of clinical music therapy. We are talking about how music can benefit one’s overall wellbeing and contribute to improving one’s quality of life. We all face minor problems when it comes to our body and mind. Some take a lot of stress; some have anger issues, while some have no time to relax. And research has proven that music can help stimulate brain activity, improve concentration, increase positive thoughts, boost confidence and even affect some of the biological factors like hormones and blood pressure. The why not bring music into your day-to-day routine,” asks Santosh.
The cafe has an outdoor seating area, where you can pick the music of your choice and indulge in it with friends or family. For those wishing for a personalised musical experience, there’s a secluded headset room, where you can sit in solitude and enjoy music. And for musicians wishing to practice, the music creation room offers a soundproof ambience as well as various musical instruments.
The food and beverage combinations too, have been designed with much thought, so as not to conflict with the nature of the music.
“For example, if a person has ordered ‘relaxation’ from the music menu, then he or she cannot be served tea along with it. Offering music that’s intended to soothe your nerves and combining it with acidic tea doesn’t go together. In the relaxation combo, one is offered the drink called Aasavari, its name based on a calming raga, made of herbs,” explains Santosh.
For those seeking a more personalised selection, Music Cafe offers one-on-one counselling sessions as well. During these sessions, one can get a personalised music chart designed from a certified music therapist.
A working IT professional, Santosh’s tryst with music goes way back. Having learnt music from the age of 6, it has become a part of his existence. While travelling to different Western countries for work, he found music therapy being widely researched. Back home, he realised that despite having many musically inclined people and a rich heritage of classical music, music therapy wasn’t being studied and practised on a larger scale.
So he decided to take it up himself. He already had a Master’s degree in music, which he then complemented with a course in music therapy at the prestigious Naad institute in Chennai.
After the course, he started conducting music therapy sessions, along with his wife Sawani, for close groups in Pune.
“After practising music therapy for over six years, I realised that there was a need to reach out to more people. We were getting a lot of response and the feedback was excellent, but there was no continuity to it. What we wanted was to form a community, which has music as a part of its daily lives, where amateurs, enthusiasts, curious music lovers and veterans could explore music together. With that thought, we founded this cafe,” says Santosh.
With the creation of a community of musically inclined people in mind, Santosh also plans to organise regular workshops and music concerts for a closed group of members. The idea being that consistency allows long-term and better results.
“There’s a lot of scope for experimentation as well. This space can be utilised in many more creative ways that we may not have even thought of. We realised this on the very first day,” says Anand.
On its very first day, the cafe saw a musical birthday celebration taking place in its premises.
“A young guy of around 25 asked us if he could celebrate his birthday here. We weren’t sure how exactly that’d pan out, but we agreed. He came with his family and started playing harmonium in the riyaaz room. He had learnt the instrument as a child and then discontinued. It was his way of reconnecting to his family with music,” says Anand.