“Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
I had heard about the Seva Café in Ahmedabad where all work and activities are volunteer-driven and guests are free to pay what they like.
So, during a weekend in Ahmedabad, my husband and I curiously went to this café for dinner, having decided beforehand that 150 rupees was a fair enough sum to leave behind, considering our limited travel budget. We walked in and were completely overwhelmed by the warm welcome, the gentle ushering to our table and the thoughtful girl serving us with her infectious smile. The whole place was oozing with love and goodness.
One of the volunteers came and sat with us for a friendly chit chat and shared how this café has been running for years on the concept of Gift Economy. Each day food is prepared with great care for 40 guests. The cooking, serving, washing, cleaning is all done by volunteers who derive joy in service. The bill at the end of each meal reads zero as it has already been paid for and hence made possible. It is up to each guest to judge if and what they wish to pay forward for the next person.
This system of showing trust in each guest’s judgement and paying forward for people unknown helps bring us one step closer to our inner beauty. It also helps the world make a positive shift from transaction to trust, from consumption to contribution, from scarcity to abundance, from isolation to community.
Simply reading about this may not mean much. You will truly understand this when you get an opportunity to experience it.
When we left Seva Café, we paid a lot more than the 150 rupees we had planned for. But what we gave that day did not seem to matter anymore because what we received was a feeling of abundant love and happiness. Thank you for serving us.