Q-Tube: A space where artistes can perform, people can socialise over free coffee!

Updated: Oct 24, 2016, 12:37 IST | Phorum Dalal |

NSPA shrinks its Bandra office space to throw open a 25-seater cafe for artistes to perform, and guests to connect over free cups of coffee

Nathan D'Mello and Aldrin Fernandez perform vintage English Jazz, Rock and Blues numbers. Pics/Sneha Kharabe
Nathan D'Mello and Aldrin Fernandez perform vintage English Jazz, Rock and Blues numbers. Pics/Sneha Kharabe

It sounds too good to be true. So, we stop by and pay a visit. Located along the lines of a furniture store, a grill workshop and an outdoor accessory store, one can’t miss Q-Tube and its red, blue and white railway station-style signboard. The transparent glass windows show off a coffee shop, musical instruments, a colourful library and sockets to plug in your gadgets.

The space makes for an apt place to work, and unwind too
The space makes for an apt place to work, and unwind too

Less than a month old, Q-Tube is the brainchild of Natural Streets for Performing Arts Foundation (NSPA) and an asset management company that supports them to create a space where artists can perform, and people can socialise, work, and chill. All for free.

Rajeshwari Sengar and Rohan Rawat sing Indi Pop fusion and 90s English tracks
Rajeshwari Sengar and Rohan Rawat sing Indi Pop fusion and 90s English tracks

It has been pouring all day, and we’ve been feeling under the weather with the gloom. Having heard them on railway platforms, Metro stations and promenades across 25 locations, the familiarity of the yellow tees, the strumming of an electric guitar and a soulful voice accompanied by a musician tapping away the Cajun box is uplifting. A few chairs are occupied; we find a table that gives us a bird’s eye view of the space.

Singer Abhishek Chaple and musician Rahul Bakshi set the mood with their original compositions. In between, they take breaks to discuss the tempo, the mic placement and shoot for NSPA’s YouTube channel.

The vibe is lively and welcoming. The space is divided in three sections — the ground and mezzanine floors are offices that belong to NSPA and Quantum, who supported and funded NSPA since they set up in 2012. There is a small stage for artistes. The rest is a 25-seater café that serves only coffee, no food. Colourful shelves that line a wall offer food for thought. There are board games like chess, A Game of Trade — Business, Jenga and Scrabble as well.

Among book titles from A Short History of the World to The Little Book of the Shrinking Dollar and Lords of Finance, we pick up 1,000 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask Yourself by Alyss Thomas and go back to our table. The first question in the book is: What do I really want? Good question. As if, reading the same paragraph, the singer croons: “Anjani raho mein, mein khud uljha hoon, baaton mein kho gaya...”

So, we’re not the only ones who are confused. We open up our laptop and before we begin to fumble for the WiFi password, a staff member walks over and takes us through the steps. We get good WiFi for the next two hours.

Within 10 minutes, a sprightly girl walks up to our table and asks in a whisper, “Would you care for some coffee?” We nod, requesting one without sugar. She takes note and walks away with a smile.

While we are racing to meet a deadline, the music aids our pace. As the tempo rises, the keys type faster, and stopping to clap after every song, is a stress release, too. We could get used to this. We love the detailing in the décor, with a Beetles clock, a frame with a hand drawn map of Bombay, and practical offerings of hand sanitisers and a water filter. The wall opposite the library has a long table jutting out, and sockets at regular intervals are a sign it’s open to professionals wiring in. While gigs, are scheduled from 4 pm to 8 pm, the rest of the day is work-friendly.

When it’s time to leave, we bump into Jessica Noronha, NSPA project coordinator, who tells us it is a conscious effort to not serve any food. “We don’t want commercials involved. NSPA artistes are paid `1,200 per gig, but other artistes will not be paid though they get the space at no cost. We are open to people who want to conduct workshops,” she tells us. But how do you make money to sustain? “We are not making any,” she smiles.

Finally, Mumbai gets a space that makes the arts accessible. It is ideal for a short meet-up, casual chat and a platform for artistes to showcase their talent. Since an asset management company backs them, we’re sure they have thought it through.

At: Next to Wildcraft store, SV Road, Bandra (W)
Call: 26401645
Time: 11 am to 8 pm
Note: Entry is free. Non-NSPA artistes must sign up on QTubeCafe@NSPA.in to perform here. This was an anonymous review.

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