A pink taxi

A pink taxi

August 10, 2010

Vignette of the Girl with the Green Eyes

After our trip to Paris this summer, I have been collecting as many children's books on the city of lights to read to my children. Perhaps the memories will remain entrenched this way, set in stone.

My five year old daughter's eyes lit." We have that picture in Dubai!" she said as she pointed to the Mona Lisa. We skipped the Louvre museum on this trip. We only had three days and they were sunny days. Perhaps we will return to the Louvre when the kids are older and on a winter trip to the capital of France.

I wondered why she made such a statement. We didn't have any representation of La Joconde (French name for Mona Lisa at home) and then I smiled. I asked her: "does our Mona Lisa have green eyes?" She gave me an affirmative answer.

I remembered our Afghan Girl by Steve Mc Curry. I had always wanted to own a signed photograph of what I consider to be the most iconographic representation of Afghanistan.  I had always compared her to another female iconic art historical French figure: Marianne. Indeed, they both represent the spirit of their respective countries; and both symbolize pride.

I remember receiving the photograph in a tube in the mail. My husband and I took it to the framer for him to open delicately, with his white gloves. The three of us examined it in awe. We had never seen it except in the National Geographic. Now we had a 50 by 30 cm original, ready to be framed.

Her bordeau clothing, torn in areas to reveal the next green layer. Her eyes! The color of the famed emeralds of Panshir. Her stare! As hard as Mona Lisa's is muted. Her mouth, still in an absent smile.

This photograph used to be the first face that caught your eyes when you entered our house, until we moved it to another area of the house. Then, she took visitors aback, and delivery guys (for the most part South Asian) used to always ask: is she the Afghan girl?  For us, she became a fixture in our home, an emblem of our identity.


  1. How strange that I have the original of my Mona Meena at the age of 9 taken by an amateur Dutch photographer who visited Dubai in '79!The mysterious look in the bue-green eyes profess similarity to the Jaconde,but lack the hardness of the Afghan Girl!

  2. She is so beautiful!!!