For Her Eyes Only

Life’s poignant vignettes erupt at unexpected moments.

Like that time in the hotel in Delhi …

She hovered uncertainly and looked anxious.  Out of place in a sprawling hotel lobby teeming with tourists and brass-buttoned bellboys. 

A bouquet of flowers in her hand.  Red roses, in orange florist’s wrapping. 

A dark swathe of garment flowed from the crown of her head all the way down to her heels. Only the hands were open to scrutiny.  And the eyes.  Beautiful eyes. 

Elegance and grace.

He stepped up from behind.  A brief exchange of words and she relaxed.  The fabric of her shroud merged into the black of the couch.

“Only have eyes for you …”

The quiet tête-à-tête played out in the mirrored wall behind them.

His eyes never left hers.  She leaned towards him.  An ease, a pleasant familiarity in their interaction.

A glint of gold flashed on her fourth finger.  I caught my breath.

The blinding brightness of Diwali, the annual Hindu Festival of Lights, crawled all over the streets outside, dripping off buildings and dangling from trees.

India ablaze …

… with light —

Bargain hunters poured into late-closing stores, negotiating traffic-snarled streets.  Pavement hawkers squawked and beckoned. 

Loud distraction painted the cosmopolitan metropolis and seeped into the marbled luxury of the hotel.

… other symbolic Diwali decorations 
Images of Hindu deities in the hotel lobby and …

She nodded and waved a slender hand.  The band of gold gleamed in the light of the crystal chandeliers. 

Her eyes smiled.

The aching weight of might-have-been.

Playing with fire …


And then there was Farah …

My tiny friend  flirted toothlessly and allowed me to hold her when harrassed-mom-of-three-kids-under-six looked like she could do with a break.                                 

She sat on her mother’s lap, smiling all the way through a 15 hour flight.                           
Farah: “That’s my mommy and she’s wonderful!”








She nodded off from time to time and I caught this moment  in cameo.  It touched my heart –

Sleeping Farah – an allegory of rest in complete trust

as I recalled lines from the Psalms –

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast. (Psalm 131:2)

A powerful visual image. 


There is an air of haughty luxury about some Middle Eastern airports –


and a mysterious modesty surrounds the veiled women –

The preoccupation with cellphones, of course, is global –

In the Middle East …

In India …

Sri Lanka …

A worldwide phenomenon, here to stay.

Does one even remember life before mobile devices?


Thankful for leisured people-watching fiestas during long layovers at far-flung international airports.  Life at its unselfconscious best. 

And thankful to be home.

Puppy found his present …

 Until next time,


“Get lost, silly tourist!” (Amritsar,  India) 

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11 thoughts on “For Her Eyes Only

  1. As always, excellently written; as you take the reader, many who may not actually know the world you are describing, but come to almost be a part of it , once you are through. Hope we’ll get a chance to connect this year, my dear friend.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was the best post yet! You captured the “feel” of people with your photos.I especially enjoyed the cell phone pics. A world-wide phenomenon. I see oppression in the photos of the women in clothing covering all but the briefest glimpse of their eyes, while the men are comfortably clad in modern clothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely!!!

    On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 10:38 PM, Never 2 Old 2 Dream wrote:

    > Selina Stambi posted: “Life’s poignant vignettes erupt at unexpected > moments. Like that time in the hotel in Delhi … She hovered uncertainly and > looked anxious. Out of place in a sprawling hotel lobby teaming with > tourists and brass-buttoned bellboys. A bouquet of flowers” >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Cousin,

    I love reading what you write. You are so observant. I don’t think I know anybody else who would think of a long layover as an opportunity to observe the life teeming inside an airport. Or anywhere else for that matter.

    I for one bury my nose in a book or close my eyes for a nap.

    Next time I go on a journey I will definitely use your philosophy. It will be interesting to see what my eyes will encounter.

    Love, Mali >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi back, cuz! So lovely of you to take time to leave an insightful comment. It always makes my day. I find myself getting more fascinated with people as I get older. A powerful camera phone is a huge bonus, of course! Happy birthday to the Sweet Sixteen young lady. Love xx


  5. Amazing how our thinking influences what we see.
    Beautiful images and thoughts.
    Maybe nothing we think is quite reliable.
    But what we see is irrefutable.
    I had such a totally different take on the Saudis who came off their private jet to go through immigration in their private line in a Swiss airport. I joined their private line, in my shorts, on purpose. The men ignored me. My husband sort of panicked, and tried to motion away. I stayed. It was Switzerland. Why shouldn’t I be in the Saudi’s line?
    The men wore jeans and t-shirts and spoke on their cell phones. They were mostly fat in their jeans and tight t-shirts and unattractive because of this. The women were covered from head to toe, even their eyes were shielded, they looked like executioners, but I got glimpses of jewelry and exotic perfume.
    I made it through the Saudi line. And right when I was up to the customs agent, I noticed a expensive boutique shopping bag left at my feet. I looked in at the top. I knew it was an abaya. I picked it up and went through customs.
    As soon as I passed into Switzerland, I saw the Saudi women’s the hoods were off. They weren’t in Saudi Arabia anymore They were there in all their glory. And one young one met my eye, as I walked out, I was looking for my giftor, and she nodded at me.
    This is the first time I have ever written this story down.
    Ever since then I have known.
    If anyone needs to be covered up in Saudi Arabia, it is the men.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy, this is a fascinating story. Thank you so much for sharing. I wonder, would you mind if I quoted parts of your comment in a future blog post? I agree completely with what you say about the ‘shrouds’. They are a troubling symbol of a much deeper issue, aren’t they? You are brave to stand in that line, though. I wouldn’t have dared! Thanks ever so much for taking the time to comment and the post. You absolutely made my day. Have a super weekend. Love 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

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