While walking through the streets of Convent Junction in Kochi, I noticed the place had lost its old shine and bustle. There aren’t many people running from store to store in search of clothes. It’s not crowded with fashionistas as it used to be. I still remember Convent Junction being known as the fashion hub where people from colleges in and around Kochi would flock to. What exactly has caused this shift? Are the old parts of the city driving away a part of the population? Is the evolving cafe culture responsible for this?
Almost empty streets
Having lived in Kochi long, I have seen the city undergo many changes. A massive shift that happened in the recreational scene of Kochi is one among them.
A particular crowd of Kochi, mostly the younger generation, prefers to hang out in upscale places like Panampilly Nagar, Vytilla, and Edapally. While older parts of Kochi, like Marine Drive, Convent Junction, and High court road, are almost empty. It seems these places, which used to be the face of Kochi and fashion hubs once, doesn’t attract many anymore.
Rise of Cafe Culture
Cafe culture happened pan-India, whose waves hit the Kochi Coast too. The upscale places, which were paddy fields and marshy lands decades ago, are now home to both homegrown and international coffee houses.
Source : https://kochiheritageproject.in/
When we look into how each cafe is curated, it’s unsurprising that these western model cafes cater to the younger population. I have experienced that even if the food doesn’t taste good, cafe owners have ensured that their cafe has an aesthetic and a quirky title. No offence, though.
But yes, aesthetics are visually appealing. People often associate aesthetics with their core personality. This gives a personalized experience to each customer. Also, thematic cafes are proven to be social media friendly. Try posting a picture from a theme cafe; your social media feed will be blessed.
Cafe entrepreneurs have been successful in bringing cuisines from different parts of the globe. This exposes customers to diverse tastes and cultures from their nearest cafe.
Must read: Cafes In Kochi That Are Instagram-worthy
Building a community
What I love most about cafe culture is the community space they provide. The traditional chayakkada of Kerala has a long-standing history of community space where everything from politics to spicy gossip has been discussed. But community spaces provided by modern-day cafes are much more fulfilling. Interactive sessions, art installations, literature, and small concerts playing soft songs give a holistic experience to people.
Old parts have issues to be addressed
Hardcore shoppers are slowly shifting from conventional fashion hubs like the Convent Junction to the high-end areas due to inadequate parking spaces and lack of refreshments spots in the former areas. According to The New Indian Express, unhygienic conditions and lack of basic amenities are the primary reasons for the diminishing shine of Marine Drive.
The critical question is whether these new-age urban hangout spots are affordable to all classes. Sadly, it’s not to an extent. The coffee houses can’t be blamed for this. Providing a versatile experience in everything from food and art to cultural activities, the rental charges make it expensive for customers. The authorities should look into clearing the issues of the old corners of Kochi and make them accessible to the majority population as they used to be.
How was your experience hanging out in cafes? Was it affordable? Comment down your thoughts.