Planning to dine out? Do it in the company of the hearing impaired
Eating out at this restaurant in Jaipur is a unique experience. With hearing impaired people around to serve you, Vitthal’s Kitchen on Sahkar Marg guarantees you the serenity you look for at a restaurant.
When you enter the restaurant, a couple of them greet you with a smile on their faces. Once you settle down, one of them gives you a specially-designed menu card, which is self-explanatory. Once you decide the order, the waiter comes with an order book and pen and through sign gestures conveys you to place the order mentioning the code and quantity. By the time your food is being readied, the waiter keeps you busy serving chilled jaljeera.
The hospitality of these hearing impaired employees compels you to spare some thoughts for them. Ask Ashish Vitthal Sharma (33), the owner of Vitthal’s Kitchen, what made him employ the hearing impaired at his restaurant, he says: “Once walking on roads, I saw three speech and hearing impaired boys talking to each other through sign language and I noticed that they are in their own world and not bothered about others. Similarly, people around them too were busy in their own world and not bothered about these youth. Then, I decided that I will do something to connect these specially-abled to the mainstream of the society.”
A law graduate, Sharma opened the hotel engaging five of them a month ago. Initially, it was a problem interacting with them, but now Sharma has learned the sign language from them. About how do customers react to their presence, Sharma says a few leave saying ‘these people cannot take order and serve’, others, who give them opportunity to serve, enjoy their hospitality. “Many customers have revisited this place,” he adds.
Citing an incident, he tells, “Once a couple came here. The wife tried to check whether the youth serving them was really hearing impaired. On this, the husband reprimanded her for her action. I really felt good thinking there are some sensitive people too.”
Sharma said he plans to engage 100 such youths during the current financial year. “I will be employing a few in my restaurant, which I am expanding. Besides, I will request my family and friends to employ them at their workplace,” he adds.
Yashvendra Jat (25), who works as a waiter at the restaurant, through sign language, says, “It is really good to work here and interact with normal people. I feel happy when customers are satisfied with our work.”
Hearing impaired waiters serve at the eatery.