Posts Tagged With: Ahmedabad

Take a break – rest at Adalaj ni Vav

Adalaj ni Vav, Step wells, Adalaj stepwell, places to see near ahmedabad, gujarat tourism, places to see near Vadodara

Resting platforms at the Adalaj ni Vav for travelers

Last Saturday, we had gone to Ahmedabad for some shopping and meeting friends. On the way we decided to take a little detour to see Adalaj ni vav. Continue reading

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Ahmedabad night heritage walk

During her last week in Ahmedabad, Mihika had planned a full Ahmedabad darshan for her mother and friends who were visiting her. I think it was for herself as well; as during the 3 months she was there she saw little of the city’s attractions :). And I joined them in one of the outings which was the night heritage walk organised by House of MG.

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Ahmedabad – heritage night walk – guide map

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The SMILE Deck game

Every trip to Ahmedabad gives me something new to write! There is so much that I receive there that I can just not let it pass without sharing and giving back 🙂 I shared it on Volunteer Weekly, but like the Seva Cafe volunteering experience, I wanted to share it here as well. But this one is a shorter version of the original article.

Last month when I was in Ahmedabad; Mihika gifted me a SMILE deck.

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Four suits of the SMILE deck

The smile deck is like any other deck of cards – 4 suits with 13 cards each and 2 Jokers – with a twist that each card has a unique kindness idea. These decks were created by a group of volunteers, people just like you and me.The four suits are four categories for kindness towards people you know, stranger, yourself and for the world. You can view all the ideas here:

    Clubs: For People You Know
    Hearts: For Strangers
    Diamonds: For Yourself
    Spades: For Our World

My SMILE deck has become a game now. I started with the Joker card as soon as I opened the deck – telling a joke to the person who gifted it to me. For a week I thought about how to use it. And then I decided to pick one card at random every day and do what it says. I have to confess that I haven’t been able to stay one-a-day with them as I had initially thought but the game is on till the deck gets over and it has been fun and rewarding. Here are some that I have picked till now and what I did :).

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Atithi Devo Bhava: A mantra I saw in practice at Seva Cafe

I first wrote this volunteering experience for Volunteer Weekly. But then I had to share it here as well! 🙂

This post combines three of my favorite tasks – cooking, volunteering and writing!

seva cafe logo, living is giving, volunteering at seva cafe, Ahmedabad,Last week I went to Ahmedabad to volunteer in Seva Café. I was introduced to Seva Café almost a year ago during a training in my previous organisation. Since then I have wanted to come back here. Even though Ahmedabad is just a couple of hours away, it still took me almost a year to return.

It is difficult to explain Seva Café – it’s an experiment in ‘Peer to Peer Generosity’ run by volunteers (and a small staff) from diverse backgrounds. At Seva Café, volunteers offer meals to strangers just like they would to guests at home. At the end of your meal your bill reads 0.0. The café runs on gift economy.

Even though I love cooking, I have never cooked for more than 15 people at a go. I wanted to see how it is in big kitchen and so I decided to volunteer for both food preparation and later in waiting, serving and cleaning dishes. It was an amazing experience! I realized the cooks in restaurants must have solid arm muscles because even mixing such quantities and holding such big pans (with food) was a task :D!

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The day began with me making tea for everybody. Then Raghu bhai and Raju bhai decided on the menu for the day and we all got busy. Since I was a novice I was mainly peeling and chopping and passing things. Then Bhaskar bhai decided to teach me fried rice and red sauce for pasta. I was all excited! Yeah! I get to cook! 🙂

What followed is something I will always remember.

As soon as a picked up the pan; Bhaskar bhai asked me to look up and read:

“अतिथि देवो भव” [meaning ‘The Guest is God’].

I said okay and I said it loud “अतिथि देवो भव”. He then said – don’t just say it; believe it. Believe it from your heart that the stranger you are cooking for today, is your guest; is like God. Cook like you would cook for God. Leave all the negative emotions that you may have aside; if you had a fight with someone earlier in the day and you are angry; throw that anger out. There is no place for it in this kitchen. Cook with a happy heart; cook with love and its only then that your food will be delicious. He said – there is no technique in cooking a great meal; the only essential ingredient is love. If while cooking you are thinking about any fight you had then those negative emotions are bound to travel to your food also.

The thought was so simple, yet so profound. It’s the reason why no restaurant can match mother’s food. Mom’s make food with love which a restaurant chef rarely remembers to add!

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