MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/16 February) – A few weeks ago I saw a DVD version of the 1997 Iranian film “Children of Heaven.” The story revolves around two siblings, Ali and his sister Zahra, and the hassles they have to go through after she loses her pair of pink shoes.
Comic and heart-wrenching at the same time, it teaches the lesson that true happiness can be had by wishing only for what we really need, not what we want, and that some blessings can come even from the most adverse of situations.
Since their family is dirt-poor, Ali and Zahra are forced to share his worn-out pair of shoes. The only good thing going for them is that she goes to school in the morning and he in the afternoon.
Ali however is in a worse situation. He always has to run fast to meet Zahra somewhere between their home and school to get the shoes to avoid being late for his classes.
His daily ordeal however proves to be a blessing in disguise. It transforms him into an athlete, a long-distance runner! And so when he learns of a race involving several schools he never hesitates to join the tryout and eventually the race itself.
The funny, if unusual, thing is that Ali aspires only to win the third place. The reason: the third placer gets to win a week at a vacation camp and a pair of sturdy sneakers. He desperately wants nothing more than new shoes. Forget the pride and honor of being a champion.
To his dismay however Ali places first, and so has to say goodbye to those pair of comfortable sneakers. He goes home distraught at the thought that fate has been unkind to his simple wish. Strange that Ali despises the victory that all the other contestants yearn so badly.
Of course, the story ends on a happy note. The last scene shows Ali’s father bringing home two new pairs of shoes for his children.
Nonetheless, it was not the ala-fairy tale ending that matters in the story but the nobility of asking only for what one actually needs.
But this seems to be a vanishing virtue. There are those who crave for more even if it comes from questionable sources, and end up not disclosing it in their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)