As anal as I normally am about order and chronology, I just decided to throw caution to the wind and not to worry about it as long as there was some semblance of both and let the captions I proceeded to write tell individual stories. Working on the scrapbook  lead me to want to write about the  answers I give to people and the memories I cherish of my long association with Playboy magazine.

For those of you who may not know, or only barely remember where I am coming from – here is a brief rundown on the professional trajectory I have followed.

I began working with my uncle Jaisukh in his just-getting-off-the-ground Wilco Publishing House in Bombay, right  out of high school at the age of seventeen. I worked all through my six college years. Four at Jai Hind College where I earned my B.A. in Economics and two more years at the Government School of Printing Technology,  before sailing away from the Ballard Pier, to get a diploma in Photolithography at London School of Printing. Spent a year at Burda Publishing in the heart of the Black Forrest in Germany as their reproduction photographer. Following that I landed  in the city of New York and my cousin Ashwin drove me to  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My six months working on the floors of Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, put the cherry on the top of my educational achievements. A job offer from Time Inc, now Time Warner, landed me in cold and windy Chicago, becoming one of their  team of six quality control supervisors in charge of Time, Life –  the largest circulation weekly of those days –Sports Illustrated and Fortune.  Four years later, in 1972,  I let Playboy steal me away from them and ship me off to Munich, Germany to become its production manager for the newly launched “foreign” edition of the magazine. Over the period of next twenty one years, with a brief hiatus in-between, I worked my way up to the corporate position  of  Senior Vice President and international publishing division’s Editorial Director in charge of eighteen countries. It took me all over the world many times over. Along the way, I learned to speak fluent German and Spanish and also picked up fair amount of Czech, some French and Italian. I left Playboy at the end of September 1993. Since then I did Florida Sportsfan, moved and lived in Prague as editorial adviser to half a dozen women’s magazines and eventually  conceived and became Editor and Publisher of TV/Entertainment magazine Serial, until I retired in 2005.

Never mind that I try to tell all of this to people so that they can put in perspective where I am coming from or where I have been. All of that goes over their heads,  except of course the Playboy part. So what choice do I have?

That’s my motivation and the reason for undertaking this journey.  A past girlfriend Susan frequently said of me: You live in the past!  And so it is. I guess there is a certain amount of gratuitous  gratification living in the days that are no longer.

©2012 Haresh Shah

 Illustration: Deven Mehta

Next Friday, November 30, 2012

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR: is how Hefner defined his Playmates as opposed to celebrities and professional models. When I communicated this to one of my editors – his response while scrutinizing the current  centerfold was: If she is the girl next door, I must be living in a wrong neighborhood.

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