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Araku Coffee boss reserves his den for reading, keeps it gadget-free

The only gadget in Manoj Kumar's den is his iPad.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 26, 2019, 09.04 AM IST
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ETP4 04 Manoh Kumar  pic – Nitya Kumar 3c.
Manoj Kumar, co-founder of Araku Coffee, says his two favourite passions — design and books — combine to create the perfect den.
Manoj Kumar, co-founder of Araku Coffee, says his two favourite passions — design and books — combine to create the perfect den.

My private space
“My den is a soundproof room surrounded by books and design objects. The walls have been replaced by huge glass windows to show the greenery outside and let natural light in. Though it’s a small space, it is my place of quiet, where I can read, learn, reflect and be inspired. Apart from an iPad, which is sparingly used, my den is mostly a gadget-free zone.”

One thing your den would never have
“Noise.”

Essential objects
“Most objects in my study have a back story, like the solid one-of-a-kind teakwood bookshelf designed by Shankar Narayan. It’s zig-zag and irregular, so as to depict the possibility of being able to design in a chaotic, asymmetrical manner."

“The books are arranged in a particular pattern: One section is dedicated to translations of vernacular texts, while another is the Tintin comics section, a personal favourite of mine. You will also find my favourite classics, from Dostoevsky to Don Quixote to James Joyce."

book shelf


“My bookshelf has been curated for over 20 years, and is punctuated with interesting artefacts, like a rooster made of scraps by a Bengaluru-based artist, an owl made of Latin American forest wood and an antique penguin to depict the effects of climate change, which is placed next to the books about penguins. For me, it’s more than just a bookshelf.”

On the wall
“My den features one of my favourite ink on paper paintings, titled ‘Bhikshoo’, made by one of India’s masters, Badri Narayan.”

Book lovers’ haven
“My collection of books reflects my interests — coffee table books to tomes on agriculture, human body, politics, economics, and biographies. Design is a weakness of mine, you will also find a whole collection of Monocle issues. I often refer to old issues of business magazines, which have found their own place on my shelves.”

design piece


Inspired by design

“Like the books, even my furniture is curated. One of the bookshelves, the lounge chairs, and the lamp have all been created by designer-architect Sandeep Sangaru."

“A circular study table with three chairs around it is inspired by Japanese design but is made in India. Almost all of the furniture was made with minimum joints and nails and nearly no use of glue. I draw inspiration from such extraordinary craftsmanship.”

If someone visited your den, they’d find…
“A writer, professor, or an architect. If I could host someone, it would be Anaïs Nin or George Orwell.”

A signpost for the den

“Do not enter to leave in a hurry.”

How Many Books Have You Read From Virat Kohli's List?

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Nerd Mode On

28 Aug, 2019
Recently the Indian captain made headlines for his reading choice during the opening Test between India and the West Indies.Team India captain Virat Kohli wears many hats – batsman, model, fashion curator - but one title that few associate with him is bookworm. When he’s not playing cricket, practising his swing or hitting the gym, the right-handed batsman loves to relax with a good book, as evidenced by this tweet.We take a look at some of the books that make the ‘nerd’ in Kohli happy.(Image: Twitter/ViratKohli)
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