South Pune’s very own literacy and cultural centre – Raah is soon to open its doors to Puneites. Founded by Aiman Mehta under the umbrella of the Raahat Charitable Foundation, it is essentially a platform for people to express themselves.
“There’s so much of talent in Pune, yet people lack a practice space,” says Mehta talking about the idea behind Raah’s inception.
“I know of drummers, amateur theatre artists and even stand-up comedians who just need a place to practice and test the waters. I intend to offer precisely this with an art space.
After a successful stint in journalism and real estate, Aiman opted for a break from the corporate world having decided it’s time to give back. “I actually wanted to start my own NGO,” says Aiman. “However, when my brother, Azhar Tambuwala, started Raahat, Raah was initiated under its umbrella by both of us.
“Essentially a literacy and cultural centre, I’ve planned a small library where people can come and read for an hour or two. A lot of senior citizens can take advantage of this.
“Pune has always been quite the cultural hub. Yet sadly, watching theatre or musical performances comes at a high price to many. I want to offer this at nominal rates so it is more accessible to everyone.
“Also, most theatre and music shows happen in Deccan, so I’d like to bring that vibe to this side of the river. I want to bring in the youth and be more child-centric. I already have enquiries from people who want to hold their classes, yoga sessions, etc. I can lend them my space at nominal rates. I’ll be using social media to keep Puneites abreast of what is happening at Raah.
“I’ve included a quaint cafeteria with snacks that are to be very nominally charged. The idea is not making profit, but to create a community vibe,” she explains. Complete with a stage, a green room and a roof-top performance area, Raah can easily accommodate between 80 and 100 people.
“I certainly intend on doing plays here. I’m open to hosting anything from women’s hygiene sessions to a book club. Raah is above all, a platform for the people. So just come and meet me and I’ll slot you out,” she beams adding that the space is set to open shortly.
“The rationale and philosophy behind setting up Raah is to provide a dedicated multi-purpose art and recreation space for people of all ages for their artistic, intellectual, recreational, cultural and charitable expressions,” she said.
“At Raah we seek to encourage new ideas and develop fresh thinking across all disciplines, free from religious and political agendas as well as activism of any kind,” she added.
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