Saturday, October 18, 2003

In the eye of the beheld
Prerana Trehan

I still remember my first day in college. I was the only girl in the engineering batch. I had dressed up with an eye to making an impression on the boys in the class, and I must confess that my dress did raise quite a few eyebrows! The boys were all eyes, but I am used to such attention and didn’t even bat an eyelid. I remembered, with amusement, my friend telling me that with my looks I needed to have eyes at the back of my head to deal with all the attention that was sure to come my way! I quickly cast an eye over all the boys but none of them were my type.

However, I remember one boy in particular. His eyes almost popped out of his head when he saw me. From that day onwards, I knew that he kept his eyes peeled for me. I often saw him from the corner of my eye, trying to catch my eye. It amused me that he kept an eye on me and often got into fights with other boys who tried to act fresh with me.

Then one day, out of the blue, he asked me out. I laughed out loud and said no way! I noted with satisfaction that his face just crumpled before my eyes. From that day onwards he has never tried to make eye contact with me. I hope that incident opened his eyes to the impossibility of a boy like him going out with a beautiful girl.

Key to phrases used

With an eye to something: if you do something with an eye to something else, you do it for that reason

Raise (a few) eyebrows: to shock or surprise people

To be all eyes: to watch something or someone with a lot of interest

Not bat an eye/eyelash/eyelid: to not show shock or surprise

Have eyes in the back of your head: to know everything that is happening around you

To cast/run your/an eye over: to look at something quickly without looking at the details

Someone’s eyes are popping out of their head: if someone’s eyes are popping out of their head, they are looking at someone or something in a way that shows that they think that person or thing is extremely surprising or attractive

Keep your eyes peeled/skinned: to watch very carefully for something

To see something from the corner of your eye: to perceive something without seeing it clearly because it is not in your direct line of vision

Catch someone’s eye: to be noticed by someone because you are looking at them

Keep your/an eye on something or someone: to watch out for or look after something or someone

Out of the blue: if something happens out of the blue, it happens suddenly and you are not expecting it

Before someone’s eyes: if something happens before someone’s eyes, it happens as they are watching

Make eye contact: if two people make eye contact, they look at each other at the same time

Open someone’s eyes to something: to make someone understand something for the first time and know how difficult of unpleasant it is

Interesting origins

The phrase ‘under the aegis of’, means under the sponsorship or protection of. The original aegis was the shield of Zeus, the Greek king of gods. The word took its name from the Greek word for goatskin. Legend has it that as a child Zeus had been suckled by a goat, Amalthea, and later also carried a shield covered by its skin. Aegis, therefore, referred to divine protection, although it is now used in a more prosaic sense.

(Reference: Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms)