Minister hands over memorandum to Gopinath Muthukad during the inauguration of Up Cafe at DAC

06 June, 2024

Up Cafe, a cafeteria to be managed and operated by differently-abled people began functioning at the Different Art Centre (DAC) on Thursday. Inaugurating the cafeteria, K B Ganesh Kumar, Minister of Transport, said the DAC has been carrying out activities that empower the differently-abled and it is amazing to see that things are organized at international standards at this proud project of Kerala. 

The minister also said that a CNG bus from the Transport Department will be provided to support further activities of Up Cafe. He suggested that the activities of Up Cafe should not be limited to the DAC campus but should also reach the outside world. 

Gopinath Muthukad, Executive Director, DAC, said that the Up Cafe project has been a dream venture, and the idea was inspired by his visit to Japan. Kadakampally Surendran, MLA, presided over the function. Sunilraj C K, Manager, DAC, Anil Nair, Intervention Director, and others participated in the event. 

Tea, coffee, and snacks will be made available according to the needs of the visitors who arrive at the Up Cafe. The cafe is open daily from 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm. DAC has imparted all the proper training to children on how to behave, manage, and carry out the tasks needed in a cafeteria. From inviting visitors to serving food to cleaning the tables and seats, all the tasks will be done by differently-abled people themselves.

Currently, Tony Cyril, Kannan V, Thushara Stalin, Jayalakshmi TG, Sreedhin P V, Aravind SS, Ren Karthik, Bineesh S B, and Agneesh V Nath are receiving vocational training from the centre. Children affected by Down Syndrome will also be trained. The training is undertaken to ensure employment opportunities for differently-abled children in cafeterias of a similar nature.

During the event, K B Ganesh Kumar, Minister, surprised Gopinath Muthukad, by handing him a memorandum requesting his return to the world of magic, leaving the audience in awe. The memorandum, written on the Minister’s official letterhead, expressed that it was not right for the renowned magician, who had explored many possibilities in magic, to stay away from the field. The Minister pointed out that typically, a memorandum is given to a Minister, making this instance unique as it was handed to an artist. He emphasized that an artist being in the spotlight benefits both the art and the public and that philanthropy and art can coexist. He also compared Muthukad’s significance in magic to that of Sambasivan in Kathaprasangam, highlighting his irreplaceable contribution. He urged that such a unique artist should not leave the world of magic.

In November 2021, Gopinath Muthukad retired from magic to focus on integrating differently-abled individuals into mainstream society and to be more involved in the activities of the Different Art Centre, which he established in Kazhakoottam, Thiruvananthapuram.