Sex work is transforming, but why aren’t our attitudes?

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A day as a prostitute or a tawaif or a devadasi or a pimp as different times have called them in India.

Today I got a challenge which was different from something what I ever imagined doing. I was caught between two stools weather to quite or do this. I was told to visit the red light area and stand there for 2 complete hours.

Curiously We left the hostel as every youngster who always wants to know what a real brothel looks like, we headed down the street crossed a kilometer, and turned right. I had not realized that the brothel was right there, that I pass the main entrance area every month after getting off my rickshaw to shopping. At the entrance to the core, the heart of Budwar Peth stood several barber shops, music and candle stores, condom stalls, and pann stalls. I pictured the men getting ready to visit the brothels, choose who they want to be with for those ten minutes, one hour, overnight. I felt disgusted, I feared.

There I stood, in my traditional and conservatively tailored black salwar-kameez which covered my whole body top to toe. It was clear that I was an outsider. I was not wearing a provocatively tailored salwar-kameez, a stylish western top with a mini skirt, or a neatly arranged sari. I did not have on the signature red lipstick. I did not have my hair down, beautifully styled and combed and the alien in market made us a topic to discuss in the complete area.

It was a strange feeling, standing there. Within seconds, I felt anuja’s hand on my shoulder. For the next two hours, her hand did not leave contact with my body—my shoulder, my hand, my side. Her body language conveyed a sense of protection, either for me to keep me from walking away, being taken by someone, or getting approached for conversation.
I looked left and right recalling movies, its red light area, and the countless differences. I can still picture the women standing in the windows literally since they and their services were for sale. I remember each woman having her own window, barely any standing in the doorways or streets, and the overall atmosphere feeling like a normal commercial street lined with several small quaint boutiques.

I had tears in my eyes. My body was scanned with lust in the eyes of visitors and customers, I was followed and stared everywhere. I felt like an object …I felt dirty today about me and my Body. I felt like running away and crying my heart out. It ached deep, I felt like punching this guys and break their faces but I couldn’t, it was the wrong place I stood at, that made them follow me and ask me chalti kya.If not punch I atleast gave a bad look to guys but what about 18-year-old disha who had to smile at this guys even if she saw lust in their eyes and no respect for her, she had to attract him with her smile and body language and sell her self for few bucks which will run house of her family who sold her and didn’t even bother to call her when she wasn’t doing well and needed them.

Boys asked me if I want to go with them, their taunt was as sharp as a new knife. They crossed my way from close distances to ask whether I was interested. I was horrified by seeing so close yet so different world. The pimp was asked if I was a new girl to be sold and what was my rate?. Yes Every woman has her rate. Her body, her age and beauty decide the rate of her soul, her self respect and her emotions. They say hell hath no fury as a woman scorned but she had no powers in any part of society. She was and will never be given respect and right place in our society.

The cruelty of this hell was equalised by god through sending this angel (prostitutes). The real meaning of humanity was what I learned there, they were seating there to sell their body yet they were concerned about me.

A lady walked to me and enquired about me and the reason of me standing there and said ,

” बाबू,अच्छे घरकी लडकीया यहा नही आती,ये जगा गंदी हे।कोई लडकेे ने कूच उल्टा सिधा बोल दिया आपको बुरा लगेगा।आपकी इज्जत कम होगी।हमारा तो यही काम है।आपके लिये ये जगा नही आप घर जाओ।” and moved her hand from my head, away from home her care and touch made me miss my mom. I asked her with anxiousness in my voice, “even you stand here daily don’t you feel bad or disrespected?”. Looking into my eyes without any fear she said yeh mera kaam hai, mujge aadat hoa chuki hai aur aap achee ghar ki ho. aur agar rukna hi hai beta toa dhup main nhi khade raho bimar hojaaoge our kuch chahiye toa mujhse mang loa.

That was a time when I doubted what is achaaa ghar I was never asked if I needed help when I stood hours for work in the so-called standard areas. Just because they sold their bodies are they are cheap and bad but the ones fucking them are so-called achee ghar ke ladke.
The irony was their kids played right next to the place they were standing to sell themselves and babies played in mothers lap and the moment customer came baby was given to another girl who was free and the baby the cried watching his mom go.

While leaving the brothel Akka called me and said badi officer banke humare liye kaam jarur karna aur khayaal rakhna
I walked out of my first experience in the brothels of Pune starting with amazement at the sights, shifting to concern for the future of every soul there, and finishing with being absolutely humbled by the care and worries of one woman for my safety and future.

शरीर विकतात याचा अर्थ मन,भावना आणि हृदय विकतात असा होत नसतो…..

एक गली-एक मकान -एक व्यापार
हर बड़े शहर की
आसमान छूती इमारतो
और तेज भागती जिंदगी के बीच,
होती है, एक गली,उस गली,
मैं एक मकान,उस मकान,
मैं होता है एक व्यापार!
जहाँ नुमाइश लगती है
जहाँ तोल-मोल होता है
जहाँ जाँच -परख होती है
और सौदा हो जाता है आबरु का,
सौदा होता है मासूमो की जिंदगी का,
कुछ पल के सुख के लिए!
इन पलो मे आदमी
हैवानियत की सारी ह्दे,
पार कर जाता है.
कई मासूमो की चीख
चारदीवारी मैं गुम हो जाती है,
ना जज़्बातो की कीमत,
ना उम्र का लिहाज,
बस खेल होता है –
चमड़ी से दमडी वसूलने का!
रात भर महफ़िल सजती है,
जब सारा शहर सो जाता है
तो इस व्यापार मैं खूब उछाल आता है,
कई चहेरो से शराफ़त का नकाब उठ जाता है,
और सुबह होते ही खामोश ी,
जैसे रात मैं कुछ हुआ ही ना हो ,
और इंतजार एक नयी रात का
इसीशहर मे,
इसी गली मे,
इसी मकान मे
कुछ नये चहेरे के साथ
फिर वही व्यापार—–!

Article By-Vinita Ugaovkar

 

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