By Tristan Kong
Since he was born, 23 year-old Omar Siddiqui had never seen in colour.
He is colour blind, and for him, the world looked like a very different place to the way everyone else seemed to be seeing it.
“It led to feeling sometimes excluded,” responded Omar when asked what the most difficult part of not seeing in colour was.
That is until this February, when his 21 year-old girlfriend, Alyssa Kaye Andino surprised him with a life-changing gift – a pair of EnChroma glasses, specifically designed to help those suffering from colour vision deficiency see a higher spectrum of colours.
The first time his eyes adjusted to the pinwheel colours of his vinyl cover of artist Jamie xx's, In Colour album was unforgettable.
“I didn’t fully understand what it was I was looking at, I was seeing things I had never seen before. I kept asking questions to my girlfriend about what I was seeing,” said Omar.
“Her excitement only furthered mine, and the fact that she never got exasperated with my newfound enthusiasm allowed me to fully express the joy.”
As an avid film fan, Omar embraced his dream of pursuing a life in the film industry and enrolled in Sheridan College's Advanced Television & Film program.
Alyssa had originally planned to give the glasses for Omar's birthday near the end of the year, but he had expressed concern he would need to see colour for his school projects before then.
“I got the glasses for him earlier so that he could have them handy for the day he will learn how to colour-grade at school,” said Alyssa.
When the glasses arrived, Alyssa set up the television to show the entire colour spectrum and invited Omar over.
The video below shows the moment Omar started to see the multiple colour separations for the very first time , where he previously only saw very few colour sections.
The rest of Alyssa and Omar's day was spent exploring Toronto's most colourful places.
“It was just incredible seeing how excited he got when he saw something new…and asking what certain colours were called,” said Alyssa.
“At one point, he just turned to me and asked, 'How does anyone get anything done?' ” she added.
Now, with the gift of a pair of glasses, Omar is enjoying this colourful world in a new way.
He credits his girlfriend with not only helping him see the world through new eyes, but with helping him in this journey.
“I didn’t think I would appreciate it as much as I did, and I think her being present during the experience really added to it,” said Omar.
“It made me a whole lot more grateful for everything I see, whether natural or created.”
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