Sabiha Fayaz has been working with one of India’s leading “dot-com firms” for over six years now. The Creative-Head found it next to impossible to work from the confinement of her home. Surely, WFH (Work from Home) was an alien experience for most people when the trend picked pace. However, she found a much needed work-related-release, when one Friday evening, she chanced upon a café at Boulevard with her sister, that is, soon after the lock-down was officially lifted in Srinagar. Sabiha had found the requisite work-space environment for herself, in this humble and suave café. Moments after the coffee was served at their table, she computed the possibility of her working her day-shifts online, from this very café. This thought process was mostly triggered by the ambience of the place and the availability of free internet at the café. They say that all creative people need a specific vibe to function. Right after her maiden visit, she kept returning to this place.

The café culture in the Valley is witnessing an unexpected, slow but sturdy, boom, since, more and more professionals, like Sabiha are opting to WFH, from a near-by café. Most of such people work in the I.T industry as compared to any other industry. It is yet to be pragmatically discovered, what is causing these droves of “Geeks and Nerds” to accept a Café as their new work-place instead of the comfort and the convenience of their respective homes. One could surmise that perhaps it is the elementary human connect that is what is the highlight of this switch.

Shubhanjana Das, a journalist working out of a cafe says “You need a change to spark an idea and being out and working in cafes is what gives me an edge to work and inspires me to write. Besides when I go to a café I don’t have to worry about what to eat or something. Everything is at the menu readily available. Books and bricks, Winterfell café, 14thavenue and Café Liberty are those places that provide wifi and have life going on. I get to work while selectively talking to people and I feel no compulsion to order something unless I want to and no one disturbs me.”

The first Café is said to have opened for business in 1550 in Constantinople. However, the cafes in Kashmir are no more than a decade old with dozens setting shop each quarter. Cafes captured new local and young audiences in a short span. These places offered the much needed space for youth to connect and paved path for numerous local startups the platform to scale. However, post covid era has opened new opportunities for numerous professionals who were working outside Kashmir to Work from Home without the confinement of their homes. The work culture at Cafes, though old in Metropolitan cities has picked pace in a place like Kashmir also. This has also boosted the Café business and attracted more investment in this sector.

Given that, today, we live in such a world where-in working from remote locations is possible; it should not be a shocker, if, even after the end of the ongoing pandemic, employees choose not to enter into their respective office buildings, right away. As for the Cafés in Kashmir, this switch is mostly preferred within the boundaries of the city of Srinagar. The rest of the districts are catching up.


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