Terrasinne, which means ‘Earth Cuisines’, is an initiative by Dr.Sonam Kapse, who decided to do something for the differently-abled people after she realized that there is a lack of a dignified platform for disability in India.
Located at Tukaram Paduka Chowk, in Sud Nagar, there’s one silent restaurant, making noise for all right reasons. In this restaurant, you will find deaf and mute people serving food, while you will see customers communicating and placing their orders through sign language. Joining Mumbai, Ranchi, and Delhi, Pune also now has its very first deaf & mute run restaurant, ‘Terrasinne‘, with a specially-abled staff!
“In India, disability is a big taboo, weakness, and a roadblock. We keep them in a small and restricted set-up, and even though there is work for them, it doesn’t give them a secure future. I wanted people to see that a person with a disability can very well function and can do fantastic work if the opportunity and the platform are right.”, says Dr.Sonam Kapse, founder of Terrissine.
Dr.Sonam has been working around specially-abled for over a decade and has thorough experience in behavioral aspects and sign language. While working closely with them, she realized a lack of a dignified platform for disability and came up with Terrasinne. “The idea generated when I was travelling across Europe and saw restaurants where people with disabilities were serving very normally,” she adds.
After coming from this trip, Dr. Sonam decided and ended up opening Terrassinne. But, there were many things that she had to take care of before starting. Right from convincing the family of specially-abled people to training them, ensuring their safe accommodations, there were many things and tasks that she had to work on. “My team and I talked to their parents, explained to them how it will be an opportunity and will lay a platform for others in the future. We also trained them and worked on their grooming. Overall it was a smooth process, but taking their inferiority complex out, and making them feel confident was a challenge.”, she explains.
Terrasinne was launched in the month of March, but then the lockdown happened, and it had to shut its doors. They opened again in July and have received positive feedback from the crowd. “It’s been tremendous, and people are accepting it. A lot of people came up and asked how they could help. They love communicating in sign language. It makes them feel that they have done some real social good.”, says Dr.Sonam.
Sharing one of the most overwhelming and happiest moments with Local Samosa, Dr. Sonam says, “On the very first day, unexpectedly we were covered by multiple media houses, and there was a huge walk-in. My kids were nervous. It used to be all fun when we would do the practice. But, when the actual customers walked in, I was the most stressed out. I remember, all 11 of them looked at me and laid their hands on their forehead. It’s their way of saying don’t stress, it’s okay, and we are with you. And I felt it was an accomplishment. Since they have always received lesser love compared to others, they consider me as their family, and it is very overwhelming.”
This restaurant has a bright ambiance with an interior that has buzzers, lights, and alphabetical signs to make communication simple. At the entrance, you will be greeted with an enthusiastic salute first. After which the staff will take you to the table. The menu will be handed over, and they will ask you about the bottled water through sign language. Terrasinne also follows the farm-to-table concept and has given livelihood opportunities to 208 farmers from Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, MP, and a few southern states.
“I believe that the farmers do the most important work. It’s sad that they were the ones to suffer the most during the lockdown. We have tied up with 208 farmers from across India. Terrasinne brings forgotten immune-rich ancestral food that is fresh, farm to fork, and unique for Pune. Today, I have many farmers on board, and probably by next year, the number will increase to 500.”, says Dr. Sonam.