In Conversation with Unsung Heroes of Lamakaan

Lamakaan has emerged as a place of Hyderabad’s pride. Being an open cultural space, it attracts at least 200 people daily, who come to listen, watch, discuss, perform and learn.

As Lamakaan rides high and celebrates its seventh anniversary, we spoke with visitors and people who are driving force of this hub of creative minds and cultural enthusiasts.

In 2010, Lamakaan founders Ashhar Farhan and Humera Ahmed hired Karunakar Barik (KK) to offer tea and snacks to visitors. He was working at Dell then as a guest house in-charge.

Over the years, KK has built a team of 11 persons at Lamakaan who now generate revenues through the canteen and take care of event arrangements.

According to Lamakaan manager Akshay, they are the driving force and unsung heroes of this place.

The Conversation

In an exclusive conversation with Hyderabad Youth Mirror, these unsung heroes reveal what they think about Lamakaan, its owners, visitors, and many other things.

How it all began?

KK: When I came to Lamakaan six years ago, there were only 3-4 persons. We used to offer tea and couple of other items. Over the years, we grew tremendously and now offer 15 items in the menu to more than 200 daily visitors.

Success is hard to achieve. How it happened in your case?

KK: As a rule of thumb, we maintain sweet tongue while serving visitors. We treat them as our guests. Our canteen kitchen remains open for anyone to see what we cook. Above all, the love, respect and care we received from the owners are exceptional.

I worked for Dell and many other corporations, but never felt a personal touch in relations like this. Farhan sir and Humera madam are like maa-baap to us. Humera madam even taught me how to cook Hyderabadi khichdi and khatta.

How is Lamakaan as a workplace?

Basanta: I have been working here for last four years. The work culture is accommodating, and I never felt under pressure. I enjoy talking to visitors, and some of them are like friends to us.

Krishna: We are like a family here. We take breakfast and dinner together, and do our work collaboratively. We are always paid on time. In fact, our owners take care of our medical and travel expenses too.

Bharat: I am not a literate person. But after coming to Lamakaan, I have learnt how to talk to guests. It’s a good place. If I get a chance, I will learn Hindi.

Kailash: So many people come to Lamakaan every day. I see them learning music, painting, etc. I studied up to fifth standard. I will also learn Hindi, if someone is ready to teach me in free time.

Views of Lamakaan Guests

Lamakaan has arrived as a whiff of fresh air to the city’s stagnant scene over seven years ago, recalled novelist and columnist Sriram Karri.

“Over a period of time, this conceptually sui generis platform for networking and performance has become the watering hole of creative, ambitious and aspiring artists, intellectuals and entrepreneurs in a budding stage,” he observed.

Lamakaan is a right place to generate new ideas, transform ideas into thought, and refine thoughts through debate and discussion, said techie Abdul Momin, who often visits Lamakaan on weekends.

Dr. M.A. Nayeem, a regular at Lamakaan since its inception, thought: “There’s no space as free as Lamakaan for discussing ideas and showcasing performances.”

Lamakaan has a distinction of hosting countless events ranging from art exhibitions to theatre performances, debates and dialogues. I hope it only prosper as time progresses, prayed Farhan Sumbul.

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