Pune recently witnessed the launch of a very special restaurant – The Black World. Located in Hinjawadi, this eatery has the policy of hiring only visually impaired servers. That is not all, in this concept restaurant, you’ll be eating in pitch darkness. Team Punekar went to check it out, and we had an unparalleled experience.
You will begin with reading a set of rules and keeping your belongings in a locker. Then, a server would introduce himself and would assist you for the next 60 minutes. You and your friends would have to walk in a queue with your hands on the shoulders of the person in front of you, the server being the first in line. You are led to a dark room were your meals are served by the visually-challenged servers.
The idea is to make one realise how dependent we are on this one sensory organ and to empathise rather than sympathise with those who don’t have it. But it also aims to show people that the world is still beautiful and livable without it. It is a unique journey where you find your way using touch, sounds, smell and taste.
Talking about the inspiration behind the restaurant, founder Ravikant N. Bhattad reveals, “When I went to Budapest as part of a student exchange program, I came across ‘The Invisible Exhibition’, wherein one experiences how it feels to be blind. Nevertheless, what actually shook me was the fact that out of all specially-abled people, the blind are the most unemployed in the world. It was then when I decided to give personality development classes to them and secretly cultivated the dream to open The Black World.”
Adding to the dark room enigma, the food will be a complete surprise for you and you would have to guess through touch, smell and taste. Due to the mystery, the menu is vegetarian and every dish in their four course meal is cooked for the average Indian palate. Nonetheless, the food and service are impeccable!
“I have made sure that the staff is good at work. Therefore, I myself have chosen them from different NGOs and trained them,” says Ravikant.
Hand sanitisers are given at the start of the meal, and wet tisses are provide between each course to ensure a hygienic experience. Once your meal is complete, you are led back out to the dimly-lit room. Don’t worry, the transition of the lighting is smooth, allowing your eyes to adjust!
The Black World will soon host a live band on the weekends with visually-impaired members. Additionally, they have a Made By Blind initiative where you can also buy a variety of products which are made by the visually challenged.
Lastly, the founder told us that there are many more projects on similar lines in the pipeline. We can tell you this much; this will be a life-changing experience! Kudos to you guys!