This cafe in Gujarat spurs strangers into acts of kindness

Café in Gujarat spurs strangers

As the Beatles famously sang, money can’t buy you love, but in Seva Café, Gujarat, it can help put a smile on a stranger’s face.

If you eat here, you’ll find a menu with no prices on it, and receive a cheque of Rs.0 which comes with a footnote: “Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. To keep the chain of gifts alive, we invite you to pay it forward for those dine after you.”

What’s the deal? The café, which runs on a business model of peer-to-peer generosity is a project by ‘Moved By Love’, a group which orchestrates acts of generosity through various experiments. It’s an elegant way to carry out a small, simple act of kindness.

Siddharth Sthalekar, who runs the café, comments in conversation with ‘The Alternative’ that “Over the last seven years, Seva Café has served around 85,000 meals. Who knows how many people have thought about becoming kinder? Who knows how many projects have manifested because of this? You have faith that there is some power in doing something small.”

Encouraged by the café’s success, Moved By Love has spread the initiative to other cities including Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore. Additionally, they’ve launched other projects as well, such as a rickshaw ride driven by a similar gift-economy model. After meeting a Moved By Love volunteer, Ahmedabad-based auto driver, Uday Bhai was inspired to adopt the model; consequently, he never quotes a rate to his passengers, encouraging them to pay whatever they want instead.

Image Source: Moved By Love
Image Source: Moved By Love

In both cases, the projects have inspired and sustained a growing chain of generosity, prompted – although it seems clichéd to say it – by the kindness of strangers’ hearts. If all it has taken is a small opportunity for people to be the change they want to see in the world, then that’s definite food for thought.

For more on Moved By Love, check out their site as well as their Facebook page.

Written by Pavi Sagar

Featured image source: Let’s Intern




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