A Blind Date with Myself

Alright, so this post is not really about  blind date I went on but it is about feeling for the first time how being blind must be like. Closing your eyes, switching off lights and being blindfolded does not really make the world as dark as it becomes if either you lose sight or the world suddenly plunges into complete darkness.

An adventurous girlfriend and me decided to go for lunch to a restaurant called Dialogue In The Dark and my experiences both humbled me, confused me and stirred up a lot of feelings which I wasn’t sure I knew of. The restaurant is based on a social experiment which started in Germany, the thought being that people depend on the sense of sight the most thus ignoring or not developing the other senses as much as they should.

The restaurant has a pre ordering system where you choose whether you would like to go for a 2 course, 3 course or 4 course meal. Once you have decided and paid, you are lead to a locker where you have to deposit your bags, phones and all belongings. After this is done, you enter a vault like door which shuts close behind you plunging you into utter darkness, this was darkness like I had never known. Darkness that was black, I expected my eyes to adjust to any sliver of light that might be there inside but there was only darkness my open eyes saw absolutely nothing.

It was scary, unsettling at first and then a voice came through who introduced himself as our guide and told us how to navigate through the darkness and enter his world. He took us to our table seated us and got us bottles of water. He asked us our meal preferences and my friend being a vegetarian was insistent that he make sure she is served a vegetarian meal, he laughed off her concern. It was a also an exercise on trust as the experience asks you to place trust on a person whom you have never met.

Blind people go through this on a daily basis especially in a country like India which is not disabled friendly, as they have to rely many a times on strangers to help them navigate new places. We were served our surprise lunch while the guide helped us find our bearings with the spoon, fork, etc. I was completely disarmed as I tried my best to eat without seeing and social table manners went for a toss.

After the meal, he served us dessert which I found  to be really good. After the meal he asked us to identify what we had eaten, though I knew that I had eaten chicken, I could not really tell the different starters apart. Possibly I do not really have an advanced palate and surely I rely a lot on my sense of sight.

The meal at Dialogue In the Dark was a very emotional experience for me, emotions that I could not really peg down. I would definitely recommend that people are not claustrophobic or afraid of the dark to give it a try. Even if you are afraid of the dark you would be put to ease by experienced hands who knows this world inside and out. Dialogue In The Dark is in two cities Hyderabad and Bangalore, the next one is slated to open in Chennai, do try the restaurant and tell me your experience.