‘I have to talk to my boss first before I can tell you anything. Call me on Thursday and I will tell you.’

‘I think we will hire you Mr. Shah.’ The voice comes from Chicago end of the line.

It is 15th of August. The 22nd anniversary of India’s independence, and for me, the day on which one of my
dreams has come true.

Thrilled, I call George Geist of Huron to decline his generous offer, he ups it to $10,000,-.  I tell him it’s not the money. I accept Time’s $6800.- instead.

When I am well settled in my job at Time and have become one of the team, Bob tells me over a drink: it was when you stopped me so that you can finish eating, did I make up my mind to hire you.   

●●●

It’s been now four years since I’ve been working for Time Inc. They have been the most exciting, to say the least. During these years I have worked on all four of their magazines: Time, Life, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. Currently I am doing Life full time and covering the fast edit for SI at the Regensteiner. After having worked late Tuesday and Wednesday nights, I still show up in the office for a few hours on Thursday afternoon. But I’m absolutely exhausted and drained dry. I find myself perpetually tired and sluggish. It takes entire weekends to catch up on lost sleep. Also, as much as I love my job, I’m no longer content, especially because I’m stuck in the same slot and don’t see any clear future.

In the meanwhile, I’ve established informal contacts with Playboy’s production chief, John Mastro and his quality guy Gerrit Huig. They are located not far from my office. They have alluded that perhaps I can step into Gerrit’s position when he is transferred to Germany. Nope! Instead they hire Richard Quartarolli.

We are not done yet. Stay in touch, John tells me. They are planning an American edition of the French Lui to be called Oui. When Oui comes out without me, I have given up all hopes of ever working for Playboy Enterprises, and still, I don’t know why, I pick up the phone and dial 642 1000. It’s past working hours and I’m thinking that by then his ever protective secretary Rita Johnson is probably gone home, so instead of me always having to leave a message, John would have to answer the phone himself. Wrong! But the wonder of all wonders, Rita puts me through right away.

‘Harry!’ John never learned to pronounce my name.

‘Hi John, I was wondering if we could get together for a drink soon?’

‘I can’t Harry.’ There is a pause on the line. ‘Harry, would you be interested in going to Europe?’

‘I love to.’ That’s all I could say.

●●●

Ben Wendt, the technical director at the Regensteiner Printing would tell me this story at the Thank You party I had thrown for all my Time Inc. contacts the weekend before making my big move.

‘So, little over two months ago, John calls me and asks. “How well do you do you know this guy Harry who does SI (Sports Illustrated) at your place?’

‘You mean Haresh Shah? The Indian quality guy from Time?’

‘Yeah, the one who talks funny!’

‘What you want to know?’

‘You know, like how is he to work with?’

‘He’s quite pleasant. Always in good humor. We like him.’

‘That’s well and good. But what is he like with his work? Is he good with colors?’

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