“In a line, please” the guide announced
Like ants, 6 of us stood in the line.
“Put your hand on my shoulder” instructing, the guide took us into the dark.
“Are you there?” Mummy asked
“Yes. Yes . I am here” I said holding her soft hand.
The others in the team introduced themselves standing where we were. We were too scared of tripping and falling. I held Mummy’s hand tight.
After a round of introductions, we walked together, holding our companions. I held my mother’s hand. It felt so different holding Mummy’s hand in the dark. Comforting and soothing.
Was it the magic of the dark or was it my ignorance for two decades that I never felt the way I did before. In the sighted world, where do we hold hands or feel the soft skin of each other?
At least, I do not! I was gorging on the beautiful feeling of tenderness, when the guide had asked us to smell vegetables. We passed it on to each other. Slowly, sniffing. Some of us guessed it right and some did not. The trainer applauded aloud and asked each of us to do so.
We clapped for the unknown friends, whose faces I had forgotten in the dark. They were just voices now. Hoarse, soothing, pleasant, or worried. We had walked further inch by inch, taking care of each other and ensuring we do not trip or fall down.
The guide had given us a plethora of tasks and we, dutifully completed them to earn the applaud of our guide. He had a pleasant voice and he spoke with a smile. That could be felt.
As our team rather a bunch of friends now, moved to the cafeteria, we were worried, how would we eat or drink. “what If I have chilies?” I thought.
The guide asked us to place our orders and sit at a table nearby. He had to guide us there as well. We finally sat and since the order was delayed and having nothing to do, we shared our experiences, fears all in the quietitude of the dark where people were just beautiful voices.
The guide soon came with what we ordered. It was an eerie feeling to eat in the dark. What If some insect fell inside? I thought but since no one complained, I had the cup of coffee I ordered. The taste did not alter much from the normal coffee I have so I surmised the coffee was hygienic.
Finally, it was time to leave the dark room. Painful!
In the darkness, we left our fears, worries and adopted the light called trust, faith and love towards each other. When we walked into the light, I could hear my mates say “why did we come out?”
Blinking our eyes to adapt to the light, we stood together for a couple of minutes in silence, smiling at each other. I could not match the voices to the people in front of me, as in the dark, it all seemed the same – Dark and Beautiful!
About Dialogue in the Dark: It is a permanent exhibition brought to India by social entrepreneurs, the Krishnans in the Hyderabad city to create opportunities to the visually challenged and also make us realize the importance of four senses apart from vision i.e., touch smell hear and taste.