Situated on the ascending road beside the Buddhist Monastery, Kairos Cafe is almost imperceptible at Mullingar, save for a sign pointing its way. Once you follow the path, however, it is hard to miss the cutesy purple entrance.
The first thing to greet you as you enter is the warm, friendly staff. The second thing, almost instantaneously, is joyous, Christian music, reminiscent of chapel’s “My Redeemer Lives.”
With a view overlooking the rest of bazaar, Kairos offers a reasonably-priced, minimalist menu, with the focal point being classic Naga and Korean cuisine.
The pork in the Naga meal, which the chefs smoke themselves, is particularly enticing.
Named after the Greek word for “in God’s time,” Kairos lives up to its name.
According to Mr. Azo, the head barista, the cafe is a “Christian-based business” run by four families.
“We are not business partners. We are family,” Mr. Azo said. “We are an independent group not supported by any organization or churches. We thought we would set up a cafe to support our work here and also to serve people here at Mussoorie.”
The group is involved with discipleship ministry and evangelicalism. They go to Friends of Garhwal Church to “support local people and local churches.”
Mr. Azo’s Korean wife, Mrs. Yeodi Kim, is in charge of the Korean cuisine and is the only non-Naga person in the four families. Mr. Azo and Mrs. Kim met at a bus stand en route to Dharamsala, where he was on his way to photograph his friend’s performance at a “Free Tibet Concert.” Kim learnt Hindi at the Landour Language School.
Their group leader, Mr. Chuba, was not present during our visit. His wife, Dr. Alem, works at Landour Community Hospital. Mr. Azo and Mr. Chuba had met years ago at a Christian Fellowship in Dehradun.
Mr. Akum, the main chef, is expecting his second child with his wife Mrs. Adang. The fourth family lives in Nagaland but visit often.
Although the cafe only opened in December 2018, the team has been in Mussoorie since 2014—except for Mrs. Kim, who joined them after her marriage with Mr. Azo in 2017.
We were also introduced to the helper, Sandeep, and server, Ratan, who is from Nepal.
Mr. Azo said, “We just want to teach our servers to serve with love and humility.”
Aarti Malhotra is the managing editor of The Woodstocker
Photos by Knema Gardner
Edited by Dhrubhagat Singh