Lifting Of The Fig Leaf
Zahir takes me by the hand.
‘Let me introduce you to some of the people here.’ I am one of the hundred some invited guests at Zahir and Bernadette Kazmi’s annual pre-Ramadan shenanigan at their spacious home in Chicago suburb of Oakbrook. Outside it’s raining cats and dogs and yet it has not deterred any of their friends and the families from showing up in droves. Only damper it has put on the event is that all of his beautiful oriental rugs are covered with large bed sheets and installed outside the house is a tent sized awning, shrouding the open sky.
The first person he introduces me is a tall and lanky Pakistani friend, whose name I promptly forget as soon as it is said.
‘Haresh used to be an editor at Playboy.’ Zahir can’t help but throw in. I think he gets a kick out of watching the reaction on the people’s faces. If not exactly ignoring, I try to slough it off with a hollow laugh.
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How Do An Indian Grandma And Her American Grand Daughter View Playboy?
‘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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