At Mirchi and Mime restaurant in Mumbai’s Powai area, the wait staff won’t talk to you, or even listen to you, the usual way. Instead, the hearing- and speech-impaired people who serve you there will communicate in sign language. And so must you.

The menu will tell you how to use sign language too. And in the process, you might, during those two hours that you’re there, learn what it is like to inhabit that silent word where words cannot be heard or spoken clearly, and complex thoughts are shared with gestures of the hands and eloquent expressions.

The founders of the restaurant plan to open a chain, all staffed the same way.

The deaf and the hearing-impaired are not physically mute. They cannot speak clearly because they cannot hear clearly. Everyone acquires the ability to utter words based on our ability to hear them. But as this restaurant shows, nothing needs to be a limitation.

Mirchi and Mime was inspired by Signs restaurant in Toronto, Canada (video below) which, sadly, closed down in December 2016.