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Welcome To Echoes, A Delhi-Based Cafe Run By Deaf And Mute People

Nestled on the bustling street of Hudson Lane near the north campus of Delhi University, Echoes cafe is run entirely by persons with disabilities- those who are hearing and speech impaired.

'Come on in, we are deaf and mute, and we love having conversations,' reads the signboard welcoming diners into Echoes, a cafe started by three friends - Shivansh, Sahib, and Sahil in 2015.

Light bulbs, placards, pen and paper, and sign language are some of the tools the staff at the Echoes Cafe uses to communicate seamlessly with their guests.

Once you step into the cafe, a waiter will guide you to your table and provide the menu along with a notepad and pen. Each dish on the menu has a unique code like the variety of Pasta is coded as P1, P2, P3, and so on. You can write the code of the dish and the quantity next to it.

To place the order or call the waiter, calling lights are attached to every table. As and when you press the bell and the waiter sees the light bulb go on, they will come to your table, take the notepad and punch in the order.

While enjoying your meal, if you need anything from fork to knife to water or even the check, you can use the calendar kept on your table. A one-of-a-kind calendar is a collection of placards that read 'The bill, please' or 'Pack the leftover, please' and so on. You can show the desired card and your request will be fulfilled.

According to Shivansh Kanwar, Founder, and Owner of Echoes Cafe, so far, in many places, most of the roles being given to persons with hearing and speech impairment have been relegated to back-end operations, but Echoes cafe aims to change this. The caf brings them to the fore and encourages them to interact with customers so that people understand that this too is possible, and they can get more opportunities in other industries as well.

'Over a period of time, we saw that a lot of customers have become friends with our waiters. They create special bonds, giving our customers an experience, beyond just serving food', said Mr Kanwar.

Echoes cafe has branches in three cities - Delhi, Bengaluru, and Kolkata - with the idea of celebrating the human spirit and leaving no one behind.

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