My husband is great at giving me surprises and this year was no less!
After a nice morning drive, he said he planned a special lunch for me. We reach the 3rd floor of a particular mall and entered an eatery whose board read, “ *Dialogue in the Dark”.*
I could make out that it was a different place because I couldn’t see any people just a counter with a manager, a menu card and a bell.
We walked up, he said, “Aha, you’re here, Happy 25 th anniversary and we hope we make your day memorable to you.”
The manager smiled and asked us to follow him in a pathway which for some reason kept getting darker and darker, until a point I had to hold my husband because I could absolutely see nothing.
The manager now turned to us and said, “I am handing you over to our server for the day, Sampath.”
Sampath greeted us warmly and began by saying, “ *As you can see; you can’t see!*
“It’s pitch dark already and there are no sources of light inside either; please hold my hand, trust me, you are safe with me and I’ll take you to your table.”
We did as he told us, holding each other, we touched the walls to support and not trip and as promised, we were safe and reached our table.
Sampath brought in our meals in 10 minutes, and asked us to enjoy !
I thought “ *Enjoy what? Darkness?”*
And for the next 45 minutes, we ate in complete darkness!! *We fumbled, we mumbled* ~ and we had to feel the roti, figure out the sabzi, chutney, water, etc.
Not being able to see my husband , just able to hear each other out,
It was difficult in the beginning but as time went on , we completed our delicious meal & it was a unique experience indeed !
When we were done, we called Sampath who came promptly, we stood, placed our hand in his and walked ahead and as we headed back out towards the light I was relieved; And I could finally see the back of Sampath’s head, and THEN HE TURNED!
My jaw dropped instantaneously when I finally and actually saw Sampath ! *A visually-disabled man! No eyes whatsoever!*
Sampath whispered softly, “What you experienced was not only how disabled the blind people are *but also how uniquely able we are! ”*
While I almost tripped multiple times, couldn’t bear the darkness beyond few minutes; they live like this all their lives!
His spirit, his positivity, his SMILE! *I was humbled* and filled with a profound sense of respect for them.
I was literally in their shoes for 60 minutes; I felt their pain, felt their world and felt their emotions, *and to say the least, their courage too ! That was empathy !*
I thought to myself, *“Sampath might not have eyes, but he surely has VISION”*.
And I would never discard right away anyone again.
*What an anniversary* !