Dialogue in the Dark: Taste of Darkness

Dialogue in the Dark

When was the last time you licked your fingers in a hotel? When was the last time you never cared the manner in which you ate and sat like a glutton relishing the food? When was the last time the mobile phone never interrupted your conversations over lunch or dinner?

Unsure?

Then you might want to visit Taste of Darkness (TOD), a unique dining experience where you eat your food in the dark.

Part of Dialogue in the Dark initiative, Taste of Darkness teaches one the lessons that are hidden in a dark corner in our busy lives.

DIalogue in the Dark HyderabadDialogue in the Dark, the brain child of Andreas Heinecke, is an initiative to sensitive commoners through tours and dining experience in the dark. Dialogue in the Dark has been presented through exhibitions and workshops in more than 30 countries and 130 cities throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas since it’s opening in 1988. In Dialogue in the Dark a reversal of roles is created: sighted people are torn out of their familiar environments, losing the sense they rely on most – their sight. Blind people guide them; provide them with security and a sense of orientation – transmitting a world without pictures.

The blind and partially sighted guides open the visitors’ eyes in the dark to show them that their world is not poorer – just different.

At Taste of Darkness, everyone is visually challenged or blind. They help you sit, serve you food, make sure you are having a good time and lead you back to the light. In short, the blind people open your eyes and few lessons that one learns:

Go S l o o o w: Going Slow has often been always labeled as a flaw but TOD teaches you that it is a speed breaker in the vehicle called life which we are busy speeding and fueling it with food and expectations.  Reliiiish what you do, savor and bask in the glory and then move ahead.

Fear is good:  The moment you step in the dark, fear settles in your heart. The darkness doesn’t let you distract with any other thought but of the present moment. So you concentrate on what you are doing.

Respect: The pleasant voice of the waiter distracts your fear. As he or she takes you to the table with impeccable manners, you wait for him or her to be back just to speak with you.

Time: Since it is dark, you are not allowed to wear your watch as it might be a source of light (its contour shines, remember!)  and it is only your companions and you with no interruptions, you engage in conversations: Tease each other, speak with each other, indulge in memories, and have a sumptuous time.

Food is not just a fuel to your body: After the yummy conversations and fun, when the food is served in the dark, you try to figure out what you’re eating and then relish it perhaps taste a few ignored ingredients as well. You thank the cook for making a meal for you. It is said that food made with love and care, tastes the best.

Non-Judgmental: Since you cannot see, you hardly care of how many people are around or how many people are noticing you. You break free; you squat, and indulge in food and friends.

You don’t judge!

Alas, the darkness is busted when you are brought to light at the end and you wish you just stayed back. While one can visit the next time but till then, this poem that might encourage us to go s l o o w, respect each other, spend more time, relish, and lick your fingers after a sumptuous meal:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

— William Davies

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Nivedita (also known as Divenita Er) works in the Publishing Industry. She is also a part-time journalist and a published poet. She blogs at nnivedita.com.

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