Muhammid is a small boy, about 5 years old, and Muhammid has seen the color of paradise. The mystery of his seeing paradise is that Muhammid is blind. Muhammid sees the color of paradise with his fingers. He has learned to read Braille in a school for blind children. He has learned to understand the language of birds by listening closely; he translates for the birds. He has learned to see his sister’s beauty by touching her face with his gentle hands. He knows the smells that are carried on the wind. He knows his grandmother – his beloved grandmother – is near when he hears her walk.
Grandmother loves Muhammid also, and he knows this, for she says to him: “I would die for you.”
Always as he walks, Muhammid holds his small hands out in front of him, arms outstretched, his fingers curled to embrace the next touch. A loving teacher has told Muhammid to keep his hands open, to keep his hands open to touch, to keep his hands open to look at the world with his hands. If Muhammid will keep his hands open, his teacher tells him, he will surely one day meet God.
Muhammid’s father is a widower with two daughters and a son of whom he is ashamed, for his son is blind. Muhammid’s father, unable to accept the life he has, and so he rails at his mother, at his family, and at God. The heart of Muhammid’s father is turned in on itself, in contrast to the hands of his son, whose hands are open to the world.
Muhammid is the one who sees the color of paradise.
A long time ago, I heard an anecdote that I have not forgotten. A little girl takes her father by surprise when he comes to her bedroom to kiss her goodnight. She asks her father: “Isn’t it amazing that I exist?”
My hope for you, my hope for me, my hope for this world is that we see, with our hands, with our eyes, with our feet, with our minds, the color of paradise. My charge for you is this: keep your hands and heart open to the world, and its color will unfold before you.
[“The Color of Paradise” is an Iranian movie written and directed by Majid Majidi.]