Preface: "Seva" means service in Hindi
Friday evening was my first time engaging with this establishment. I arrived around 6:00PM and began by meeting the other volunteers and few staff members. We set up the space with tables, chairs, decorations (Friday evening was fully occupied by a private birthday party), and dinnerware. The menu was elaborate (lemon mint juice, basket chaat, mutter paneer, mixed veg sabji, parata, rice, and kheer) and specifically chosen by the host a few days prior. The cooking began at 2PM so by the time I arrived, it was just paratas that were being finished.
The first responsibility a volunteer gets is dishwashing. So, I spent the evening washing dishes and dancing around to the fun music playing. It was a great experience. A few of the guests even came and asked to wash their own dishes. It was a nice gesture and created a dynamic sense of community. I'm excited to spend more evenings at Seva Cafe in the future and am excited to visit the other locations experimenting with gift economy.