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  • [Sizzling]

  • [Upbeat music playing]

  • We have people who come in and give $2 for a buffet meal

  • but we also have people who come in

  • and give $50 just for a thosai

  • I don't think it really matters how much everyone gives

  • because at the end of the day

  • if that's all they can afford

  • that's all they can afford

  • We always make enough for us to open the next day

  • and continue serving people

  • [Sizzling]

  • [Upbeat music playing]

  • [crunching]

  • [Cheerful music playing]

  • My name is

  • Annalakshmi is an Indian vegetarian restaurant

  • that functions on the (Hindu) philosophy of 'Atithi Devo Bhava'

  • or 'guest is god'

  • So tomorrow, if god were to come to your house

  • and have a meal

  • you wouldn't give god a bill at the end of the day

  • For a lot of people, the first thing that comes to mind is

  • "It's free food"

  • but we simply do not price our food

  • We just want to provide home-styled food

  • to anyone without them having to worry about the money

  • Initially, when I first started out volunteering here

  • It would really make me very angry and upset

  • to see people giving $5 for a (buffet) meal

  • or even $2

  • or even $1

  • I remembered this once

  • This guy gave a very small amount for his meal

  • and a few days later

  • this guy came back and he was like

  • "I would like to give back what I owed"

  • It was at that point that I really thought to myself

  • you know, it was so easy for me to judge the person

  • without really understanding

  • what was going on in their own personal lives

  • I realised that it's not my job to question how much people give

  • Instead, my job is very simple

  • My job is to serve good quality food and

  • the money will come when it needs to come

  • Because you need the thosai to actually stick a little bit

  • and then it releases

  • I have been making thosai now

  • ever since I started in 2016

  • For lunch time, you can see me behind the thosai counter

  • making thosai

  • Customer: This is ghee?

  • Harish: Ah, yes

  • Harish: This is the ghee

  • There's no tricks

  • It's not like a teppanyaki bar or something like that

  • Instead

  • being at the live station helps me communicate with people

  • and sometimes I find that many people

  • Indians, especially, giving a lot of wrong information

  • to people who don't know much about thosai

  • For example, we have a special type of thosai

  • called Jaffna thosai

  • When people see yellow colour

  • they are like

  • "Oh, it must be a pesarattu or an adai"

  • which are actually two different styles of thosai

  • they don't even use rice in them

  • so I'm always happy to stand there and correct them

  • All the time

  • people always ask me

  • what am I doing with my life

  • and why am I working in a restaurant

  • but I always knew I wanted to help people

  • so I guess coming to Annalakshmi

  • and serving people this way

  • has just been the right fit for me

  • At the end of the day

  • there's nothing more important in life than your own peace of mind

  • and your own mental and personal happiness

  • [Chopping sounds] [Indian Instrumental Playing]

  • My grandmother and grandfather

  • were one of the first few volunteers to come in

  • Seeing my grandparents come here and effortlessly

  • serve for nearly 30 years

  • I kind of caught that spirit, I guess

  • When Annalakshmi first began

  • it was a group of grandmothers and mothers who came together

  • to help provide the recipes and to cook

  • When people come in and have a meal

  • it feels like they are being fed by a loved one

  • There's something really beautiful in

  • being able to give back

  • without expecting anything in return

  • to serve someone good food

  • and then they look at you and say

  • "Thank you so much

  • I've been away from home for so long

  • but today you helped me remember my mother."

  • It's because the volunteers who come here are so involved

  • are so passionate

  • that I don't think money has ever been a factor

  • for not just me

  • but for any of us who serve here in Annalakshmi

[Sizzling]

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A2 US meal people buffet serve music playing ghee

At This Buffet Restaurant, You Pay As You Wish

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    Mahiro Kitauchi posted on 2020/06/30
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