One afternoon, we’re taking a leisurely walk through the dark alleys of Ramblas. It’s likely that we’ve just emerged out of Quo Vadis after a long sumptuous Spanish meal, even fueled with my favorite sea food paella washed down with a Rioja and have had chilled huvas – grapes served in a bowl placed on the bed of ice, gulped down with freshly warmed cognac. He seems to be in a nostalgic mood and is pointing out buildings where he used to play when a kid. The bodega where he would accompany his mother to buy the produce, the cafes that he used to go with his dad. The neighborhood bakery, the cobbler shop and all. Along with it all, he suddenly stops on a narrow side walk and points at the gate across the alley, and spits out just like that.

And that’s where they shot my Dad. I was walking with him. I was just a kid! And I see on his face the same distant look that I had often encountered. Looking far far away. I am trying to imagine the scene. Going through my mind is the brutal history of the two and a half years of the Spanish Civil War and the years of atrocities that stretched beyond and up until the end of the second world war in 1945 and for another thirty years until Franco’s death in 1975. Franco ruled his country with the iron fist, crunching anything and anybody on even an inch left of his ideology. And all of it instantaneously coming undone. But the fear and the stories and the aftermath of it all remain even in the shards of that immediate past shattered to smithereens. I see it all summed up in the depth of my friend Sebastian’s frozen and framed eyes. I see them fogging up, there may even have been a tear or two streaking down his cheeks, followed by his head shake and the body shudder and then with a deep sigh, retreating back into the moment with his Well!

© Haresh Shah 2014

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

Other Stories Of Friendship

I DANCED WITH DONNA SUMMER

DEVIL IN THE PARADISE

DESIGNING IN HIS DREAMS

FEEL GOOD SISTER

THE DUTCH TREAT

THE PEEPING TOMS

The Site

ABOUT

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Next Friday, March 21, 2014

AN INDIAN AMONGST THE INDIANS

With the passing of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in 1988, that allowed the American Indians to open and operate the casinos on their land had them suddenly bathing in the wealth and prosperity they couldn’t have imagined even their wildest dreams. In 1995, Playboy Netherlands assigned me to travel across America to some of those casinos to find out how after centuries of suppression, they were striking back at the “white man”.

Pages: 1 2 3