Archives for posts with tag: Loneliness

As Long As There Is Hope

Haresh Shah

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Up until then it was the coldest winter I had ever experienced. In January 1984, the temperatures in Chicago area dipped as low as -40 to -50 degrees and chilling wind went through your bones like a sharp spear of an arrow. Nasim (Yar Khan) had come to visit from Germany. I had brought for him some extra warm clothes to the airport, because even from the arrival hall to the garage would have him frozen if not wrapped up in some additional layers over his heavy winter clothes from Europe. Even though the furnace was running twenty four hours a day, the heat generated just wasn’t enough to keep our rickety old house comfortably warm.  The windows were all frozen and from the inside looking out, what you saw was your mirror image.  Carolyn and I took turns waking up every few hours through the night and brave the elements – heavily bundled up and ran across the 50 feet (15.2 meters) backyard to the garage and start both of our cars and run them for fifteen to twenty minutes to make sure none of the mechanism cracked and that they would run the next morning.  Even so, there was always a danger of one of them breaking down in the middle of nowhere, in which case, it would have been absolutely devastating trying to escape anywhere.

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The Beginning Of The Longest Cocktail Party

Haresh Shah

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Dieter (Stark) is tickled pink. He s standing behind the kitchen island, swinging the stainless steel cocktail shaker back and forth in his hands. Equally as handsome, he looks like Tom Cruise would behind the bar years later in his movie Cocktail. Surveying the scene and the mood of the night. He is feeling absolutely no pain. His face wears a glow of amazement at the mission accomplished as he looks down at all those bottles of booze lined up in front of him like miniature Chicago skyline. Most of them are half gallon bottles of just arrived Kentucky Bourbon, Scotch Whiskeys, Bombay Gin, Bacardi Rum, Absolut Vodka. There are smaller ones of the mixers containing of red and white Martinis, Crème de Menthe, Grenadine, Tonic water. Open cartons of orange juice, some Coke and 7-up bottles stand ready to be poured in whatever cocktail he would end up concocting. He must feel like a kid let loose in the liquid candy store. Innumerable possibilities, the night not long enough!

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Dieter and I worked together as repro photographers for Burda Verlag in Offenburg, Germany. My early days living and working in the town of Offenburg in southern Germany were some of the loneliest. It didn’t help that I spoke no German yet and the little bit that I did, I misunderstood more than did I understand. I must give credit to the people I worked with in doing their best to communicate with me. But by and large, I was lost like a babe in the woods in that provincial south western German town that boasts of being the gateway to the picturesque Black Forest.

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Haresh Shah

Lonely And Lost On The Road

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I have just flown in from Mexico City. I’m sitting at the bar having a beer at United terminal of Los Angeles International Airport. I have almost an hour before the departure of my connecting flight to Santa Barbara. I’m probably scribbling some notes in my agenda while slowly savoring  my beer. Mine is one of the last flights to leave the terminal and there are only a few of us lingering at the bar, waiting. Among the people, I notice a middle aged woman at the other end of the bar. I feel her gaze pointed at me. Must be in her mid-fifties, longer than shoulder length frizzled hair and dull grey eyes, she looks haggard and somewhat drunk, twirling a glass filled with a yellowish liquor, probably some Scotch or a Bourbon based cocktail.  I get back to my scribbling and am absorbed in it when I feel a human shadow shuffling next to me.

‘Mind I sit next to you?’ Seeing me a bit confused, she doesn’t wait for my answer, instead she eases herself on the next bar stool, as unsteady as she is on her feet, and asks the bar tender for ‘one more of the same.’ I try to ignore her, but she is intent on making small talk.

‘So, where are you off too?’ she slurs her words.

‘Oh, not far. Just a quick hop to Santa Barbara.’

‘I’m going there too.’ I don’t respond to that.

‘My daughter goes to school there, you know, at UCSB.’

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