“Oh. I did not expect it to be so dark …”
This was my first reaction when I stepped inside the restaurant.
I had heard of this concept restaurant via word of mouth a few months back. When my friend told me that they have opened opened in Bangalore, I had to visit it. So four of us made reservations for a “Dinner in the Dark”. When we arrived, we were asked to remove all possible light emitting objects such as cellphone and even our watches and put it in a locker. And then the gates opened and we were ushered into a narrow hallway that was pitch black. Inside, there was our guide, Janaki. I could only hear her voice. She guided us through the pitch darkness, and we followed, often stumbling and and a little scared.
She helped us to our seats. And served us dinner. There is no menu card. You only need to specify whether you are a vegetarian or otherwise. Somewhere in that darkness, music played. Stripped of my sense of sight, my focus shifted more on my sense of touch, direction and muscle memory. I have had countless conversations over dinners, but I had only so few times listened as intently as I did this time. Although we couldn’t see each other, yet it was an intimate dinner. We ate with our hands, our fingers tracing along the edge of the 6 compartment tray, trying to touch and figure out the various food items served to us.
It was unnerving at first, but soon it changed into a normal dinner, interrupted by our childlike glee of feeling/tasting something new on the plate. The dinner was completed and we were served finger bowls. Then we were slowly guided out of the restaurant. As I was walking out, there were conflicting thoughts in my mind. As much as I wanted to usher into the light, I was pulled behind into this intriguing world where touch, smell, sound were amplified. For once, the appearance didn’t matter. It didn’t matter whether I held the fork wrong, or there is spinach stuck in my teeth. I ate like a kid, completely enjoying my meal, dipping my fingers in the curry.
When we came out, we saw our guide for the first time. She was a petite woman, in her late twenties probably. She was blind. I had heard before that people working here are visually impaired, but it still hit me when I saw her. She had guided us with utmost confidence. We did not even take a step without her. She gave us a peek into her world, where we were utterly inept.
Do visit this place. It changes your perspective of “normal” and “capable”. It gives you a dining experience, where you truly feel your food. If you visit this place, do leave a comment below about your experience.
“Dialogue in the Dark” has a wide range of activities. It does exhibitions, corporate workshops and a lot of other things. Please check the link down below to know more about them