‘So this is what you do?’

‘Yup!’ And I could see her smile slightly.  Not looking at me, but just staring at the empty space in front of her.

On my next trip, I had brought along some Playboy calendars, that went like freshly roasted hot  corn-on-the-cobs.  And since then, my brother Suresh would remind me several times not to forget to bring along some calendars, because he had the Saheb – the income tax officer hooked on them and brought them along with a bottle of Royal Salute. I am sure his auditing went ever so smoothly!!

Fast forward several years to Chicago. Anjuli must have been two or three years old. She was just getting to be able to stand up if she found something within the reach of her hands to hold onto and prop herself up on her feet. Once I walked into the living room and found her standing behind the cast iron bar and methodically unloading one liquor bottle at a time from the shelf putting it down to the floor. Then at another time she propped herself up by my expensive turn table placed on a low table and yanked at the tone arm, destroying the diamond stylus – mightily upsetting her daddy. The next time,  I found her standing at the edge of the coffee table, one of her hands resting on the table, and another on an open page of Playboy. Hearing my footsteps, she must have thought it was her mother coming, I see her poking her fingers at an open page,

Mama, Boobooj… Mama, Boobooj.  She was pointing at the ample pair of  breasts on a close-up of one of the women.

© Haresh Shah

Illustration: Jordan Rutherford

Next Friday, March 22, 2013

LIVIN’ LA VIDA LOCA

When I look back and think of the whirlwind life I lived crossing from one country to another and hopping across oceans to different continents, it all seems a little surreal and things and the people I used to pack in within short few days. Here is the story of eleven days in the life of Haresh Shah. The days that were normal for me, but somehow they weren’t.                                                                                                                                                               

 

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