Thursday, August 15, 2013

A dialogue with the dark....

“Switch off your sight
Switch on your insight
And see a brighter world.”*

I did, when I recently visited Hyderabad. The trip to Hyderabad was a journey of surprises with new experiences and exposures. It was a journey where I found traveling with 105 degree of body temperature is not easy. It was a journey that introduced me to the word “ghost writer”. It was a journey I met 300 plus IAS aspirants. It was a journey where I had a dialogue with the dark. The last one I said is what made me to write this blog. 

Copyright - Dialogue in the dark
The dialogue with the dark happened from a place called “Dialogue in the Dark”. This sentence sounds funny, perhaps ridiculous. But I should tell you that it is exactly what I meant. Dialogue in the Dark is a place located in the Inorbit mall of Hyderabad. This place puts you into everyday situation – walking through road, visiting cafes, touching water, feeling objects – but all in complete darkness.

After three tiresome work days in Hyderabad, I decided to meet my friends. Suman Sopori, who was my classmate in Manipal, was the one who introduced me to the place “Dialogue in the Dark”. It was around 4pm that I met her. We took tickets and waited for our turn to enter the exhibition hall. The wait got little longer that we slipped into our gossips and soon forgot about the purpose of visit. In between, we had a talk with the receptionist there and he explained us (perhaps only “me”) about the place. But nothing much interested me. I was happier in seeing my friend after a long time and paid little attention to the place. From the little I noted, the place had the ambience of a modern coffee shop or a pastry shop, with colored walls and modern interiors.

A lady passed by and I just glanced her. Only when she returned, I noticed that she was blind. She made me silent for few minutes because I have never seen a blind lady walking so swiftly across. Seeing my expression, Suman exclaimed, “They are used with their blindness.” But that did not console me. The thought kept peeping into me of how could she walk so easily without eyes. 

Copyright - Dialogue in the Dark
 The moments passed soon and we were called inside. Along with us, four more people from Delhi joined us. They were more in a holiday mood, making noises around. A service girl made us stand in queue, handing us the sticks to hold. She gave us few instructions like ‘walk to the left side of the wall’, ‘sticks not to be stretched beyond a limit to avoid hurting others’ etc. Our bags, mobiles and everything in hand were asked to hand over to them (they allowed us to take money with us). I was pretty bored by then and was thinking “what a bad way to pass time.”

The girl who guided us brought us into complete darkness and introduced to a guy with a soothing voice – Irfan. In the complete darkness, we could not see his face, but his voice made me imagine him like a handsome boy of 24 years old.

The journey began. We were asked to walk with the help of our senses except vision. We listened to sounds, recognized objects, touched them, played cricket, bought things in a cafe, traveled in boat, walked through hanging bridge – all in complete darkness. As it progressed, my boredom was not to be seen, rather I was busy being attentive and involved with the darkness around. The journey was initially slow, later turned fast because we got the grip and confidence to walk smoothly in darkness. Irfan helped us when we were about to scatter.

After one and half hours of journey, we were guided outside and Irfan too came out of darkness to reveal himself. He was a blind boy of 20 years old and is a meritorious national judo player. I wasn’t surprised of how he lives because I myself lived in darkness easily for one and half hours. I also lost the thought of how could the blind lady walk so smoothly. I no longer felt sympathized to them. They are just like any of us.

I cannot end this blog without saying a BIG THANK YOU to two people – 1) my friend Suman Sopori for introducing me to Dialogue in the Dark and 2) Dr. Andreas Heinecke, founder of Dialogue in the Dark. The place not just sensitized me towards blindness, but also let me explore the strength of my other senses.

(For those of you who wish to visit the place,,
*tagline of Dialogue in the Dark

No comments: