How to get a life in the suburbs

On June 5 last year, advertising professional Anish Vyavahare (25) founded MaxMeet Social, a platform for people to meet and interact in Thane. As part of their activities, they host Poetry Tuesdays, held on the first Tuesday of every month, where amateur poets read out their original poems in English and other languages.

Thane resident Vyavahare admits that over the last year they have managed to involve close to 30 people for each session, a feat in itself considering the site only boasts of a Facebook page: “We never expected so many people to show up, especially for a poetry-related event. Surprisingly, we even had a group from Colaba for our sessions; the logic still beats me,” he laughs off, adding that plans are afoot for their upcoming anniversary bash.

The former copywriter is now a writer and a part-time trainer for a company dedicated to work-life balance for corporates. MaxMeet Social was born out of his frustration due to the lack of opportunities for working professionals to hang out in Thane. “Somehow, it was regarded as ‘un-cool’ to hang out in the suburbs, perhaps because people spend less time there and are more often commuting to other parts of the city. We started by hosting Poetry Tuesdays, which had a good response. Several people who attended our session randomly, became regulars. We didn’t have to make calls, people would check our Facebook page and turn up,” he adds.

They also hosted Friday Studio, on the third Friday of every month where amateur musicians would perform live on stage. “But we couldn’t replicate it beyond one session as it was difficult to source equipment and get an apt place every time,” he admits.

Most of MaxMeet Social’s sessions are held at cafes and hotels in Thane. “It’s voluntary, we have no tie-ups with hotels or groups. We visit places where you are allowed to hang around, everyone orders a dish and that’s how we have managed since inception,” he reveals, adding that he hopes to replicate the idea in other areas like Borivali and Dadar.

Vyavahare shares that they try to organise events every month, including poetry slams, quiz sessions and theme months to ensure the crowds aren’t bored. Being a non-profit group, the winners get simpler rewards such as discounts on their bills. So far, no one’s complaining. “In the long run, I don’t see MaxMeet Social losing its ‘floating’ identity. It works better, is cost-effective and informal within a minimalist approach,” observes Vyavahare.

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