How Bengaluru’s Two Tables is helping people older than 30 find new friends

Two Tables was started as a means for people in their 30s and above to make new friends. It organises various events, centred around food, across Bengaluru to inspire organic conversations among people who have not met before.
People at a Two Tables event
People at a Two Tables eventSpecial arrangement
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“Someone at this table has worked at Victoria’s Secret before. Anybody wants to guess who that person is?” asked Swathi, the host of an event organised by Two Tables at the We:Neighbourhood restaurant in Bengaluru on a pleasant Saturday evening. The table, consisting of 12 strangers who had only been briefly introduced to each other, scrambled to guess who among them was a former employee of the international lingerie brand.

After multiple unsuccessful attempts, when the members at the table were on the verge of accepting defeat, Aaditya Menon disclosed that it was him and proceeded to give a brief talk on the origins of the company as the rest of the table listened in rapt attention. The unplanned nature of conversations that followed for the rest of the night was precisely the motivation behind Two Tables, founded by Sanjeev Shenoy.

Two Tables was started as a means for people in their 30s and above to make new friends, Sanjeev explained to TNM. The name comes from two tables being put together during these events for people to sit down for a meal and subsequent conversations. The idea came to him when he was travelling to China and he saw a group of people enjoying a meal together along with what seemed like a delightful conversation. He added, “This made me wonder what it would be like for me to also be a part of the table and interact with local residents. After I came back to India, I was doing some research to start something similar in tourist spots like Goa and Jaipur for tourists to interact with people who live in these places. But then the pandemic hit. We finally started in October 2023 and have hosted 30 tables so far to encourage friendships in a new city. We try to ensure that the group is diverse and maintain a fair gender ratio as much as possible.”

Two Tables organises several types of events across Bengaluru to inspire organic conversations among people who have not met before. Saturday Adda is for those who enjoy a drink or two with hearty conversations while events like Pan Asian Table and Ramen Table hosts dinner for non-alcohol drinkers. Breakfast Tables (south Indian and continental) are aimed at conversation-loving early risers. Interested people can sign up for the event from the Two Tables Instagram page after answering a range of questions to get to know them better. The typical group size is around 12 per table, with a host to facilitate conversations.

Things heated up at the Saturday event after it was revealed during a smoke break that one of the members had enjoyed the controversial Ranbir Singh starrer Animal. While the identity of the person was not given away, it led to an illuminating conversation on art, censorship, and the politics of representation in cinema. Some argued that any type of censorship will have a detrimental effect on the type of art that is being created, while others said that filmmakers have a responsibility to be careful while representing minorities in films so that they are not stereotyped. However, as the drinks and food arrived at the table, the mood and the conversations lightened up and the host, Swathi, continued to the next phase of the event.

She read out rather generic questions from some cards, such as ‘Would you rather become a superhero or be the world’s best chef?’ and ‘What is something you thought was easy until you started doing it?’ as people responded and elaborated on their answers. However, at this point of the night, the guests at the table were becoming freer and the game came to a halt because conversations developed organically. If anything, the questions on the cards felt restrictive! The subjects of the conversations ranged from automobiles and gaming to the many difficulties of parenting Gen Alpha (children born between 2010 and 2024) kids.

Sanjeev, who was also present for parts of the event, said that such conversations were the primary driving force behind starting something like Two Tables. He told TNM, “I realised that it is a lot more difficult for people in that age group to meet new people, especially if they have moved to a new city. The main motive behind starting something like Two Tables is to gather people with no agendas and just have them enjoy organic conversations. These meet-ups are not for dating or networking for career purposes but to simply facilitate friendships.”

The table was officially closed by 11 pm but the conversations went on. While the table did get divided into multiple conversations at some point and moved to subjects that did not interest everyone there, the host tried to ensure that everyone was included.

Some members who had been part of earlier tables fondly remembered how they were still in touch with people from their previous meet-ups. The members of those tables themselves had chosen to form a WhatsApp group and meet outside Two Tables events.

For Vishwas Reddy, a 39-year-old working in the automotive service industry, it was the need to meet new people that persuaded him to sign up for a Two Tables event. He said, “The biggest takeaway for me from this event was meeting people from different backgrounds, which is not that easy otherwise. I will definitely be attending more events in the future.”

A similar sentiment was shared by Santhosh* (name changed), a 38-year-old business owner in Bengaluru. A native of Madurai, he found Two Tables on Instagram and signed up for an event to make new friends in the city. “It was a pleasure meeting new people who share a different culture and values from mine. The conversations and the general interaction felt casual too. I think I will attend more events in the future. I also hope that I am able to remain friends with the people I met this time.”

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