“You can do things that even you cannot imagine. You can win a lot of things around. Whatever be it, never lose two things.” – Advice from Mr. Partha Mukherjee, the Kolkata Coffee Man, for the nation’s youth.
Partha Mukherjee, the Kolkata Coffee Man, has been working as a professional coffee artist for almost 8 years. His goal is to spread peace through his artwork to interconnect people’s minds. His mission is to help those who are struggling to speak up, to listen, and to find some sunshine.
Mr. Partha Mukherjee discusses his journey into the world of exclusive art in this interview with Business Upside. Additionally, he discusses mental health issues that must be addressed if a nation is to thrive and develop.
Business Upside [BU]: When and Why Did You Choose this Profession of a Coffee Artist?
Partho Mukherjee [PM]: Working with uncommon media has always been my passion. Creating my own path has always been my way to move forward. It’s while doing these experiments that I came across the medium, coffee.
You see, coffee is like a stain, which has its own monochrome story, its warmth, and its beautiful aroma that unleashes stories. People relate coffee with stories, reading, and anything lively and soothing. For me, art is only as successful, as much as it “connects.” Coffee does an incredible job of connecting minds as well. This addition created my perfect way of becoming the #kolkatacoffeeman.
I have been working as a professional coffee artist for close to 8 years now. Being in brush with coffee never feels a bit less warm yet.
[BU]: How Would You Contribute to Society with Your Art Skills?
[PM]: Well, there have been two ways I have been working and one way I am trying to step into. Right from the outbreak of Covid, I have been making artwork on order and donating any amount, in full, to the people who need that the most. That mission is still ongoing; my current collection stands at INR 6,05,050 counting.
While doing this, I realized the need to hear people out. As my family says, I am a pretty good listener and a very patient art maker. I also love creating stories out of my artwork as well. There started off with my other parallel mission, the #kolkatacoffeeman. I am trying to ensure that I reach out to people who feel severely alone, with no one to hear them out. The world around me is growing at an amazing pace, making people so confined to themselves at the same pace. Suicide attempts have increased like anything; we stopped self-introspection long ago. My mission is to help people open up, talk out, and find light in the darkness they are in.
I sincerely wish this mission of #kolkatacoffeeman gets the right boost to get more people up to talk, vent out and share. I have been doing this mission for the last six months.
Here’s what I pitch:
“Moving from one cafe to another, I am doing coffee art.
I am waiting for you to come, and sit down with me, and tell me your story.
Your depression, your thoughts, your sadness, anything is fine.
I will just listen.
I will not reply and will not suggest if you don’t want me to.
I will keep making artwork while you keep chatting.
Just before you go, take away whatever I make during your stay.
It will be a token, from me to you, to say, I hear you. It will be a token to let you know that you could open up, at least in front of one person. In case you want to open up again, this person is there for you.
You will plan and visit, right?
Sit with me, tell your story, and take a coffee art.”
My other mission is about body positivity, and it’s my next stage where I am trying to talk to connect with people who have experienced any kind of body shaming. Once I get in touch with the exemplary volunteers, I have something unique to present as coffee art.
[BU]: How Do You Think Advanced Technology Influences Our Society?
[PM]: Technology, in a very, very broad sense, helps us in getting something done with more ease than we would have done with. Calling a cab has reduced to clicking an app, and visiting a restaurant to meet, has now transformed itself into ordering online. All in all, technology is making us very, very fast, very advanced, but also taking away our much-needed “me time” a lot. Self-analysis, time to think about oneself, and quietening the mind are a few of the things we have stopped doing for a long time.
[BU]: What, According to You, is the Importance of Mental Health?
[PM]: Mental health is still quite an ignored topic. We do have a lot of awareness than what we had earlier, but it still is not enough. Good mental health helps us imbibe ourselves with the world around us, and it also helps us accept ourselves as we are. Good mental health helps us prioritize things in life and helps us understand what truly makes us “be.”
[BU]: Why Do People Need to Speak their Hearts Out?
[PM]: Above all, we need to hear ourselves out. Our thoughts, our problems, our depression, and our anger sometimes wait to be heard, and that’s true. Adding to this, we have our own talks to do. We need to talk to ourselves and think about our deeds for at least 5 minutes daily to understand the best way to do things better.
Speaking out, and venting out oneself by any means, help by releasing the stored negative thoughts, making way to feel light at heart and in mind.
[BU]: What Hurdles Did You Encounter in the Initial Days You Stepped into the Profession?
[PM]: Well, the first hurdle was always getting people to know about #kolkatacoffeeman. Unless we make people aware of the fact that there is someone waiting to hear them out, people will not be coming in.
That shout out is still ongoing, and I am trying my best to reach out to as many people as possible to come and talk with me to vent out. Also, in general, coffee art is not a very trusted medium as of now. I have had to do many experiments to ensure that the artwork can be kept without any “time damage” in the future, near or far.
[BU]: Please Share Your Experiences Listening to Your Viewers’ Stories.
[PM]: Most of the stories are of failures, depression, and sadness. I have seen people burst into tears while sharing their stories. I have seen people thanking me because they could finally feel lighter in their hearts. I have seen people smile and happily get surprised seeing how their stories got shaped while they speak.
All in all, it feels great to spread that little amount of smile, one artwork at a time.
[BU]: What Goes Through Your Mind While Creating Coffee Art for People?
[PM]: The one and only thing that goes on is, let’s spread a bit of happiness, a little bit of smile, one artwork at a time. Lending an ear never costs a dime.
[BU]: What is Your Mission Right Now?
[PM]: Well, I have already talked about my Kolkata coffee man mission, and I am trying to make Kolkata Coffee Man a common name so that more and more people get the chance to talk and vent after meeting me.
In parallel, I have another coffee art mission in the plan, and that’s about body positivity. It’s still in a very nascent stage, and let’s see how it comes up.
[BU]: What Would You Advise The Youth of Our Nation?
[PM]: Dear youth, you are a powerhouse. You can do things that even you cannot imagine. You can win a lot of things around. Whatever be it, never lose two things.
Your hope and your roots.
One will help you fly high, and the other will never let you forget who you are.