‘Congratulations on your fifteen years with the company.’  She said in her usual cheery and friendly as can be voice, which was for real. Millie worked for the company as its Employee Relations Person. Not to confuse with the Human Resources. She had a certain congenial and very warm way about her. Platinum blonde, dignified and still extremely good looking, she must have been pretty as a Playmate when young. Her effervescence and enviously upbeat demeanor had made her darling of everybody in Playboy’s Chicago office.

‘As a token of our appreciation, the company would like to send to your house a state of the art big screen Sony television set.’  I heard her saying.

‘Television set?’ Probably wondering why I wasn’t jumping with joy and screaming exclamations the way they do on radio shows when one or the other listener is called and told he/she had won a vacuum cleaner or a couple of tickets to a concert.  Instead, sensing my voice dropping, she offers: ‘I get it. You’ve  already got a nice set of your own. Your other option is a VCR.’ Still not getting any rise out of me, she throws at me the next option; ‘How about a camcorder then? Its top of the line. Also a Sony.’

Finally I had to interrupt her.

‘Millie, I don’t have a television, so what would I do with a VCR or a camcorder?’

‘That makes it easy. Then TV it is.’

‘No, no, no. I hate television. How about good old cash?’

‘That we can’t do. Against the company policy.’

So a TV set it had to be. I put it into the most remote corner of my rambling three storied, seven bedroom house.  Bought an old but a classic decorative Radio Gram console from my next door neighbor, Mr. White, who was black! Propped the television on the top of it diagonally opposite from my slat-top desk and the computer. That’s where it remained for years – occasionally watched by house guests. I watched on it O.J. Simpson’s white SUV chase, funerals of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. And that was about it. But it mostly remained unwatched, unwelcomed and unloved by me.

Before making my big long term move to Prague and putting up my house on the market, instead of holding a traditional “garage sale”, I decided to give away all of my furniture and other material possessions I no longer wanted to keep, to whoever would take them. Anjuli and Carolyn got the first picks. Before choosing television, Carolyn looked at me with a knowing smile: I suppose you won’t be too heart broken if I took the television!!

Note: Originally published as Television, VCR, Camcorder & Me

 © Haresh Shah 2013

Illustration: Jordan Rutherford

Next Friday, January 18th, 2013


You have already met Barbara and Dagmar in the process of  their becoming the first two German Playmates.  I was privileged to get to know them beyond the glare of the photo studio and without makeup. Mini profiles through personal reflections.

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