“Thanksgiving day” is celebrated across the world, which has historical roots in religious and tradition. Countries like Canada, United States, Germany, Japan etc observe the national holiday on this particular day. Just like the deed of giving “thanks” is important more important is the “thought”! What counts is the feeling of gratitude, the expression of being obliged, it fulfills the donor and the acceptor is gratified. In the fast and competitive world, today we are left with very few people practicing this, or maybe we celebrate this as an occasion only. But not a “Café” in Ahmedabad!
Situated at Vasant Vihar, Ahmedabad, Seva Café is a – “Pay-it-forward Café” run by its volunteers and in this profit centric world the café serves a bill of Rs.0/- to the guests after their meal is over. Yes, you read very correctly, the guests pay as per their own will or their generosity.
The concept of “gift economy” or “pay-it-forward” is followed here, that means your food is a gift paid by somebody else who dine before you, and in turn, you follow the chain. They are serving since last six years and have given till date more than 80,000 gifts.
“Atithi devo bhava” meaning “Guest is the God”, is the mantra in Seva Café. The guest gets the feeling of sitting in their own house and the family members are serving the food. The ambiance is very ethnic yet modern, and the staff gives the “Seva”- Service with so much love and affection and in return seeks nothing. They serve you simple and delicious food. It is great to see the surprise on the faces of the guests when they get a note which states- “Your bill has already been paid by someone else”. It is all the generosity of the guest to complete the circle of – giving! What else the Café even share the expenses incurred, and profits made by them. The café is open for any volunteer any time.
This is a great idea of connecting with people, share ideas and spread the message of love, affection, generosity, trust, and Giving. The experience here is so powerful that people volunteer it in their own cities, just like Anupreet Dhody and Susheel Nair did. They opened a Seva Café in Bangalore on 2nd Dec 2012. More and more people are getting connected and are spreading this gift economy concept and they make us feel that in spite of a fast-paced lifestyle and a materialistic world we have not disconnected from our roots of – Humanity.
Though at times the operational costs are much higher than what is earned as profits, it is the positive attitude towards the concept that is keeping the café alive. It’s just not the experience or the feeling which is shared there at the Café; it is the “joy of giving” which flows with them and the remains till the chain gets a new beginning.
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