Salon has its origins in 17th century France, a social gathering of writers and artistes. This short video gives a good summary of the idea, and what role women played as hostesses of the salons, in that century.
S, inspired by this idea, conceptualized Ze Salon in November last year, a recreation of 17th century French magic in 21st century modern India. It took me mere weeks to join her on this journey, for nothing sounded more exciting than providing a platform for people from diverse backgrounds to come together and share their perspectives on different topics.
Ze Salon is a community where everyone can share their views and thoughts on a plethora of topics, ranging from politics to religion to human behavior to feminism. It is a platform that speaks and listens, listens especially in earnest of the other end of the spectrum, the other perspective.
In the five months of our existence, we have discussed nationalism, atheism, reservation in education and society's judgmental attitude, amongst other things. More importantly, we as hosts, and also our guests (per their own testimonials) have realised it is possible to broaden our perspectives, even if not always agreeing with opposing ideas.
As a part of this journey, our aim is really not monetary or business linked. In fact, as S and I joke often, we have the unique value proposition of a completely loss making business if we were to call it that. Ze Salon is a tryst with change. If we can have conversations with the aim of listening rather than reacting, our goal of increasing tolerance levels and empathy in the community would be accomplished, in our own small way. That would be such a beautiful world to live in, wouldn't it?
P. S. This post is the twenty sixth and last in the A-Z blogging challenge series for April.