Avinash Dugar is a man with a mission – and his quaint and chic café, La Gravitea, is living proof that he is not only a tea connoisseur and enthusiast but also a man with a large heart who has decided ‘to put his money where his mouth is’ and empower hearing-impaired youth by hiring them to run his establishment. These employees are former Olympians and Gold Medalists in the especially-abled category and most did not have a sustained livelihood prior to joining the café. Now not only do they get a regular income but get to interact with the customers and are appreciated for their feats and service to the country.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor
Photo Credits: Just Dial

Once we had entered the café and asked to speak with the owner, Avinash magically appeared and offered to guide us through his establishment and explain to us the philosophy behind La Gravitea. This is a café to not only empower the especially-abled, but also a place for the youth to meet up and enjoy this quaint ambiance of different rooms, for birthday and anniversary celebrations and kitty parties, for meaningful pop-ups, for the promotion of healthy and natural drinks and most importantly to savor the various teas from around the globe.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor
Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

In order to engender a culture of tea, Avinash offers his customers over 150 types of teas which he has collected from all over the world and displays numerous unique tea pots in a glass cabinet. One particularly interesting tea cup was designed so that men with moustaches could drink their brew without getting their whiskers wet, another is in the shape of a laughing Buddha, and others display an Arab on a camel’s back, a Durga painted kettle and a Nandi cow.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor
Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

Avinash reiterates the health benefits of drinking tea, especially without milk and sugar as it has greater health benefits in terms of lowering cholesterol and regenerating the growth of healthy cells.

He walks us through each room in the café which is designed differently; some offer board games to the clientele, others are for private parties and there is even a hookah room. We decided to go for a sit-down on a carpet with poufs and mandalas and enjoyed a number of teas which we had ordered with some delicious snacks.

Avinash is also passionate about promoting natural foods and promotes a number of pop-ups throughout the year to encourage his customer’s creativity as well as send out loud socially relevant messages among the citizens of Jamshedpur.

A flagship event at his space called Melon se Milan – sees him challenging customers to write poems, create drawings and cartoons and use melons with varying recipes for shakes and edibles. Prizes are given to the winners, further encouraging their creativity.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor
Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

Here is an entrepreneur who inspires and supports local talent too. He showed us shopping bags, tea cozies and caps which were upcycled from old clothing and sold for a cause. “Upcycling, recycling and re-using” is what he strongly advocates. We loved his cause and immediately purchased a couple of attractive bags which we could use for our daily needs.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor
Photo Credits: Honk Free Campaign

There is an easel for patrons to try out their hand at some art work and winners of his several competitions who have displayed positive social messages, have had their ideas printed by the café on T-shirts, which have been sold for this worthwhile cause.

As an individual with a higher sense of purpose, Avinash has promoted, among others, a campaign against ‘no honking’ in Jamshedpur and provided 100 cars with relevant stickers.

In 2019 the café is planning on having a Kite Festival with 10 Love Birds competing in the Best Kite Flying Performance (Prize worth Rs.5000); Best Couple Dance (Prize worth Rs.3000); and the Best Fancy Dress Costume (Prize worth Rs.2000). We see that Avinash has encouraged the youth in Jamshedpur to be socially responsible, and yet get creative and have fun – all at the same time helping others less fortunate than themselves.

This is another reason to visit Jamshedpur, try out the different blends of teas on offer and help a good cause.