Archives for posts with tag: Family

Haresh Shah

Uncovering An Intimate Inheritance

secretstash2

I am in Bombay about a year after my Dad passed. Other than waiting for close friends and the family living within an hour or two’s distance, within the Indian tradition, the deceased is immediately cremated by the family members. So it wasn’t expected nor was it possible for me to be there for the cremation. There are some rituals that are performed within the first thirteen days of a person’s death, something akin to the wake, followed by a family feast to celebrate the person’s life. But the true tribute to honor my father’s memory was going to be Saptah. Saptah literally means a week, but it’s always understood as a weeklong reading of Shri Bhagwat by a scholar who most of the time is also an animated performer and the interpreter of the stories contained therein – the book by which the followers of Vaishnava faith are guided.

The reading happens all day long with appropriate breaks amidst a revolving crowd of attendees in an open house format. My brother Suresh and his wife Aruna are hosting the event and have set up a beautiful mandap in their backyard. It’s one of the most attended Saptahs, also because Shastriji, is not only a serious scholar and the interpreter of the holy book, but also because his crystal clear booming voice  makes all those stories come alive in your imagination. He is a very close family friend and for him our Saptah is more than the ones he is hired to do. My father had always been one of this biggest fans and sponsors.

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Haresh Shah

How Do An Indian Grandma And Her American Grand Daughter View Playboy?

kidandnannyd

‘And I can no longer see Playboy calendar hanging in my home.’ I could see Gina was riled up about my last ditch attempt at saving our relationship by offering to sell my house and us together buying a condo. But it was too late to make any difference. We both knew it was over. And even though her  outburst was no longer meaningful, any more than a rubber bullet, nothing that would kill me, but boy did it sting!! And the irony is: there were never any Playboy calendars hanging in my house.  What she probably meant was all those monthly issues lying all around. Especially after I left the magazine. Because for months after my departure, my assistant Mary (Nastos) still kept sending me all the international editions, eighteen in all, every month. They were piling up and at some point could be found strewn all over my house.

Or most likely, the three nude studies by my artist friend Deven (Mehta) hanging in the guest washroom by the kitchen that had triggered her ire.  In any case, not until after she said it did I ever give any thought to the placement of Playboy in my house.  I had never seen any need to tuck them away some place out of sight. Gina’s disdainful words took me back to my Time & Life years, when we had a sort of an exchange program set up with messengers from various printing companies around Chicago area that printed a part or all of one of our publications and some also printed Playboy and Penthouse. We got them in exchange for our magazines.

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