Archives for posts with tag: Carolyn

My Pied À Terre In Mexico City

Haresh Shah

 

 

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You would think, who in his right mind would get tired of living in Mexico City’s most luxurious and yet most making you feel at home hotel, Camino Real? Especially when the company is paying for it? During the first few months of my back-to-back trips and long sojourns in the city, Camino Real, or as my friends began to call it tu casa amarilla, because of its predominantly yellow façade, has become my permanent home. What’s more, I have fallen in love with the place. As big as it is, it has that warm homey feeling. By now, I know every nook and corner of this huge labyrinth of 720 rooms hotel, have been to each one of the restaurants and bars. The rooms are spacious and I am always welcomed by being placed in a poolside room with balcony. In a few short months, I have spent more romantic days and evenings at Camino Real than all other hotels of the world put together. I am regular at their French restaurant Le Fouquet and their private Le Club. Have splurged into frequent poolside buffets outside Los Azulejos, sat at La Cantina drinking beer and watching the traffic of the beautiful people of the city walking to and from the most-in Lobby Bar – the place where the locals and the hotel guests come together to see and be seen. And have danced the nights away at Cero Cero and then stumbled in for late breakfast at Las Huertas and nursed my hangovers with freshly squeezed tropical juices and very strong Mexican café con leche. Practically every service personnel knows and makes fuss over me. The place I feel at home in the true Mexican spirit of mi casa es su casa. What else can one ask for?

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Haresh Shah

Painting Devils On The Wall

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‘Do you think Playboy exploits women?’ Asks Jennifer. I have just entered the northbound Lake Shore Drive off Michigan Avenue ramp and we are driving home, instead of having stopped some place for a drink following the concert. The question hangs in the air exacerbating the silence that has dawned upon us.

‘I have an 8:30 meeting. Can’t stay out tonight.’ If not exactly distraught, it has put me in dark mood. It seemed too good to be true. I am thinking to myself. It had made me so happy when Jennifer sat in my living room a week earlier, flipping the pages of that week’s Evanston Review, while her two kids and Anjuli occupied elsewhere in the house. She casually mentioned that Carole King was going to be in town.

‘You wanna go?’ I ask.

‘Do you?’

Suddenly I had felt euphoric at the remote chance that after all, it wasn’t yet over between us two. Whereas I have given up all hopes, it was her who had initiated barbecuing and spending that beautiful spring day at my place with her kids and visiting Anjuli. My spirits lifted, I couldn’t have been happier.

And now this! As if she has found out for the first time that I happen to work for the magazine called Playboy and go all hostile feminist on me. I am chewing on her question like one would a piece of sugarcane wrung dry into a stringy pulp. The standard corporate answer and the one Hefner (Hugh) himself had given in one of his interviews : “Playboy exploits women the way Sports Illustrated exploits athletes” Ironically, when I worked for SI, no one ever accused us of exploiting athletes.  Instead this is what I say:

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Haresh Shah

Every Picture Tells A Story

bythetrunkb

Its crispy cold December morning. The sun is shining bright outside and I am having my usual  Sunday breakfast of Shahmolette – so christened by Jan Heemskerk – our friend and at the time editor-in-chief of Playboy’s Dutch edition. Because in addition to mushrooms and onions, my recipe includes finely chopped, insanely hot Thai peppers and cilantro. Also our Sunday morning feast included freshly baked bagels from Skokie’s famous and the best in the world, Bagels & Bialys, and their home made cream cheese with chives. Carolyn is futzing around the kitchen when the phone rings. I hear her making a perfunctory but pleasant conversation with the caller. Not knowing or caring to know who she might be talking to, I flip the pages of that week’s Time.

‘Sure! He’s right here. Just a minute.’ She covers the mouthpiece of the receiver and mouths ‘Lee Hall.’

Lee Hall? That’s my boss. What is he doing calling me at home on a Sunday morning? It sure couldn’t be good news. I take the receiver and lean against the credenza by the phone.

‘Mr. Shah!’ I hear him say. Once in a while he would call me that endearingly. But still…

‘Sorry to bother you at home on Sunday morning – but as you know I’ve just returned from my far east trip and thought I fill you in on Hong Kong before things get crazy tomorrow morning at the office.’

A sigh of relief! ‘Sure. You want me to come over?’ I offer.

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