Dining in the Dark – Lighthouse 75th Anniversary Celebration
By Natasha Naik
You’ve heard of dinner with a view, you’ve heard of dinner and a show, but have you ever heard of dining in the dark? Probably because Friday Sept 12 was the first time the concept has ever been conducted in Houston, guests enjoyed a three-course meal while being blind-folded. Club 24, a Houston based invitation only social and philanthropy organization, had the honor of hosting this event in partnership with The Lighthouse of Houston, a foundation dedicated to helping the visually impaired.
The dinner was held to raise awareness of the difficulties the visually impaired face, but also to vividly illustrate how much the blind can still achieve, despite their disability. The event was organized by Asha Dhume, the president of Club 24 and took place in the Lighthouse of Houston, who are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, and gave guests a chance to experience first hand what it’s really like. The evening first started with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, which those attending could enjoy with their vision, and once everyone was seated, guests adorned plastic aprons and blindfolds. It was truly a one of a kind experience. Through the dinner guests asked the servers questions like “what’s on my plate?” “what am I eating?” “is there a bread basket at this table?”. Dining etiquette went out the window; all through the meal the sound of cutlery clanging could be heard and things were being knocked down.
To wrap up the evening, guests were given the opportunity to hear a testimony from a visually impaired woman named Sandhya Rao. Since infancy Rao has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, also known as brittle bone disease, which is an excess of calcium in the bones. As a child she had surgery to widen her ocular canal, but tragically something went very wrong and she was left completely blind in one eye, and with very minimal vision in the other. Clearly, Rao has had more than her fair share of adversity, but with the support of her parents and the services provided to her by the Lighthouse of Houston, Rao has managed to not only graduate at the top of her high school class, but also to graduate from Rice University and later on from Stanford Law School. She is also a talented pianist and is currently a law clerk. Her story left everyone in the room astounded at all she has achieved despite her perceived disabilities.
Club 24 and the Lighthouse of Houston came together for an unforgettable evening that opened the eyes of all their guest of the hardships of their disabled peers, but also of the fact that overcoming adversity is a possibility for everyone.
Photo Credits: Bijay Dixit
Natasha Naik is currently a student at University of Houston studying public relations with a passion for charity. She has recently completed a missions trip in Haiti, working with the missionaries of charity. She also loves to travel along with her other hobbies like cooking, music, and trying hands on fashion.