I have been involved in a few art displays over the last couple of months. The art by Sri Chinmoy is dedicated to peace and it is most frequently on display in cafes and restaurants.
The last three exhibitions were in Indian-owned restaurants and cafes. There are more and more popping up in the Perth metropolitan region.
In City Beach the young couple that ran the restaurant work where the art was displayed work really, really hard.
They migrated from India, spent some time in Thailand before eventually making their way to Perth. At day their enterprise is a café. At night it transforms into an Indian restaurant.
They have just one evening off a week and manage to do it while raising young children. It’s hard going but they manage.
Vikas Kausal who manages the Indian restaurant in Subiaco Square Arcade has been through similar experiences. He has had great success in food and business but sometimes lacked balance in regards to family life.
“I have had big successful restaurants that seated 250 people and 220 people. I have a child that is now 8 years old, I can’t remember playing with him as a youngster,” he comments, regretfully.
“With this place I have downsized now (it seats around 50). I have had another baby who is 6 months old and am not going to let the same thing happen. No more 11.30 pm nights, night after night.”
In East Perth, Gaurav Narang runs the Infinity Café, which he has had for three years.
It was his first foray into the food industry, jumping in the deep end after working as a student in a restaurant.
“I wasn’t from the food industry, I was inspired so I learnt quickly, rapidly taking on the knowledge to cook, make good coffee, manage people and keep good accounts,” he says.
He manages the long hours with good staff and his wife’s support in looking after his 3-month-old child.
“It’s not bad; my wife is at home so it works even though I am often here 7 days a week.”
Just as we remain unknowledgeable about the food we enjoy, most of the restaurateurs who are kind enough to host Sri Chinmoy’s art appreciate it for its positive message and beautiful appearance rather than through the lens of an art connoisseur.