Cafe Echoes | Feature Friday by

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By - Prerna Kapoor
Photos courtesy - Mitul Sharma

“Speak with your hands, listen with your eyes!”

Lost in the hustle of conventional mundane busyness, we, continually, tend to lose focus on the little significant things in our lives. Submerged in the ocean of clans, who are accustomed to seeing the world through their compact lenses, we drown in the expanse of selfish needs, wants and desires. No matter how much we have, the advantages and blessings we are bestowed with, they still don’t seem enough and we still continue to yearn for more.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum are people, put out of action, unable to speak or listen, who are always looking out for a moment to untangle the lives of the complicated, jumbled souls of the world, and more so, with a big smile on their faces! This is where Café Echoes steps in and strikes an inspirational chord; a place that truly resonates with its name. A cafe managed by differently abled staff, located in the far corner of the heart of South Campus, Satya Niketan, has a breathtaking experience to offer more than just amazing food.  

Brainchild of five childhood friends, Kshitij, Shivansh, Sahib, Prateek and Gaurav, all in their twenties, not knowing where to commence was never a question unanswered. They believe that like everything else, serving customers is a skill that can be taught. Serving them well, though, is something that has to come from the heart. Speak with your hands, listen with your eyes is the mantra for everyone in the café!


Setting a foot on the other side of the deep blue mahogany door, at level one, everything and everyone appears as accustomed  as they could be, until a highly courteous staff member greets you; with sign language and an extensive smile on his face. With every pin and hook laid down by the owners themselves, you, gradually, realize that the entire wait staff is differently abled and find yourself wonderstruck at the ease with which everything works flawlessly. The unpretentious, picturesque limewashed walls, ornamented with residue of wood, used in interiors, with alphabets and their representation in sign language painted on it, is captivating to look at.

With the vibrant kitchen wall, exploded with distinct colours, overlooking the café which has been designed to accommodate a maximum of 40 people, getting your way around is rather simple. The way the orders are conveyed to the kitchen staff is praiseworthy. 

A switch, at the back of the vintage painted wooden furniture, is connected to beaming light bulbs on the kitchen wall, which lights up when you toggle it to have one of the servers at your table. A notepad is handed to put down your order on them (It’s that easy!). Placards placed on every table reading ‘Water please’, ‘Bill please’, and ‘Call the manager’ makes communication with staff much methodical.

With celling adorned with overlayed jute ropes with ornate decorations of glittering balls and experimental lights, the aura is characterized by utter vibrancy. One may choose to sit on the wooden chalk painted benches or on the floor couches, partitioned by laying vertical bamboos, on the side opposite to kitchen. It may be a thoughtfully placed playbill of Gandhi’s three monkeys, the tactfully composed posters on the wall or the alluring feedback wall, this place will give you an unforgettable experience to walk out with. 

With their vibrant niches balcony, overlooking the bustling lanes of campus, this cafe might look like a usual add-on to the already popular cafés in Satya Niketan, but its essence in the conceptualization and the motivational belief behind it is, undoubtedly, different from the rest.
Hearing is one of the body’s five senses, but listening is an art. The senses are the window to the soul and in the exposition of Café Echoes, a happy, content soul. Reframing their hymn, we shall speak with our eyes and listen with all our hearts. When an ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching, everything makes perfect sense!

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