The best tasting food has one secret ingredient – love. At Bangalore’s First Seva Café there’s plenty of food and love.
Have you ever been to a restaurant where your food bill is paid for by the person who just left? And the food served to you just as loved ones at home would do – with care and compassion? Welcome to Bangalore’s very own Seva Cafe, for food served with a lot of love.
The Seva Café in Ahmedabad runs on the concept of “Living is Giving.” Seva Café is an experiment where each person stepping into the restaurant is seen as a guest and not as a customer. As in the Indian Culture “Atithi Devo Bhavah” (guest is god), the guest is served selflessly with great love and care. When you dine at Seva Café, your meal is offered to you as a genuine gift, already paid for in full by previous guests. There is no concept of a bill here. You can pay for the food of the next guest if you wish to.
The Café offers meals cooked and served by volunteers. Anyone from any walk of life can volunteer at the Café, cooking, serving, dishwashing, cleaning or any other service at the cafe.
Seva Café happened in Bangalore just one month after Anupreet Dhody and Susheel Nair met and spoke about the Seva Café in Ahmedabad which they had just experienced. I got a chance to volunteer here.
“I was absolutely drenched in love at Seva Cafe, Ahmedabad. I so wanted to explain every bit of what I was going through to my friends and family, and the best way to tell them was to make them experience it themselves,” says Dhody. “Susheel and his family already run a restaurant called Vriksha in Bangalore, and all this unfolded as if it was meant to happen.”
Fifteen of us volunteers were at Vriksh – Restaurant and Wellness Space in Yelahanka early morning on Sunday, December 2nd 2012. The day started with a few of us taking charge of cutting the vegetables and the others in the kitchen cooking and dish-washing.
All the work was done in just a few hours and the place was ready to welcome guests. The food was served by volunteers including kids. We are always on the “being served” end at a restaurant but today I got a chance to be in the shoes of those who serve us.
Our guests enjoyed the food and appreciated the concept. There was a surprise on their faces when they received the note “Your bill has already been paid by someone else” instead of a bill.
One of the guests at Seva Café says, “It was such a lovely surprise to experience this. I am going back feeling so happy and special.”
Volunteers at Seva Café like Vinod said, “The positive energy I experienced today was amazing. I would love to do this again.” Sudarshini says, “Being a part of the Seva Café team gave me a bunch of good memories and happiness that I will carry with me throughout my life.”
The next Seva Café will be held on January 20th 2013. Our 2nd Seva Café in Bangalore will be at the Vriksh – Restaurant and Wellness Space in Yelahanka.
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This piece has been adapted from the author’s blog where it was originally published.