Serving with Love – First Seva Cafe in Bangalore

Have you ever eaten at a restaurant only to find out later that the person who came in before you paid for your food? Not only has your meal bill been covered, but the food was presented to you with the same love, care, and compassion that your mother or wife would have given you at home. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It’s a little hard to imagine that this kind of stuff occurs in this capitalist-oriented environment.

What is Seva Cafe ?

Seva Cafe is an experimental restaurant where patrons are viewed as guests rather than customers. The guest is given unselfish service with all of the love and care, same as in the Indian culture of “Atithi Devo Bhavah” (guest is considered as God). Your lunch at Seva Café is presented to you as a sincere gift, having previously been fully paid for by other customers. Here, the idea of a bill does not exist. If you’d like, you can cover the next visitor’s meal.

Why is it loved?

Volunteers prepare and serve the food in the cafe. Anyone can volunteer at the cafe to help with any aspect of the operation, including cooking, serving, cleaning, and dishwashing.
During my four years at Gandhinagar, which is 25 km from Ahmedabad, I became aware of this restaurant and its concept. Unfortunately, though, I was never able to experience this amazing idea. I was just discussing this idea with my hubby.

And whoa, I learned about the Seva Cafe in Bangalore only four days ago. Some of our friends who had just felt the amazing vibe at Seva Cafe in Ahmedabad organised this. Being a volunteer at the Seva Cafe with the chance to serve was an opportunity for me as it was the first Seva Cafe to ever take place in Bangalore.

What is special about Seva Cafe?

In about two to three hours, all the work was finished, and the venue was prepared to receive our guests. With smiles on their faces from a hearty greeting, the guests began to stream in. The children and other volunteers helped serve the dinner. I was having a great time serving the visitors the meals. At a restaurant, we are usually the ones “being served,” but today I had the opportunity to put myself in the position of the servers.

Have you ever experienced what a restaurant waiter goes through when your table’s service is running behind schedule? Or how a simple “Thank You! The food was really nice” or a smile from a customer can brighten their day. All of this is something I experienced today, and it has made me a better person and more appreciative of everyone who provides us with various sorts of support in our daily lives.

To Sum Up

It is impossible to put the entire experience into words. It must be experienced from both perspectives: that of the volunteer and that of the guest. We got to experience something very different even though, as volunteers, we were unable to fully enjoy the sensation of entering a restaurant, enjoying delicious food (which we did taste, but not as guests), being greeted with a lot of love and warmth, being in a lively environment, and ultimately receiving a zero rupee bill.

Together with a few other volunteers, I had previously volunteered in various capacities, such as assisting children with their schooling, planting trees, cleaning the city, or tending to animals. However, we had never had the opportunity to put ourselves in the shoes of those who serve us. We feel good when we help others in any way, but this place gave us a totally new kind of sensation.

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