Worker-Owned Coffee Houses Provide a Window Into Everyday Indian Life

[W]hen he found himself on the wide and relaxed terrace of the Indian Coffee House at the Baba Kharak Singh Marg, it felt like a refuge.

“There was a civility; a slower pace. Years later, one of the old regulars would tell me that the Coffee House was like ‘a safety valve’ where you could go and talk or just be,” he said via email.

In subsequent years, as his work took him across India, Freedman would stop in to other locations of the national network of worker-owned cafes. But he never thought to photograph them until 2010, when he read that the Coffee House in Delhi was in danger of closing.

“The more I found out, the more I was intrigued how these shabby, humble places had been at the forefront of so much. I thought that it would make an excellent book,” he said.

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