ByÂ Anukriti Sharma:
Those dark alleys are smeared with foul-smelling blood… filled with gaudy lights radiating from huge, flashy billboards that brighten up the night. Carnal desires are fulfilled… Bodies are sold for a few rupees. Millions of women and men are involved in the trade. Sex is cheap; love comes at a great price. Love is a lie. Sex is the only truth.
G.B. Road, Delhi, is flooded with men in the evening. A brief visit reveals the truth behind those skeletal windows… flashing faces of distorted women. The overbearing smell of rancid body fluids, semen and blood mixed with inexpensive perfume wafting through the air. Used and unused latex can be seen soiled in mud in veiled areas… unknown, unloved faces try to hide in the dark alley of reality. Dilapidated walls with naked patchwork of fading paint adorn the brothels. Every window contains women clad in nothing but unabashed melancholy… Brothel. Whore-house. That is what they call this place. The red light district is filled with zombies: emotionless, unthinking, mechanical sex workers confined in a four-by-six room. Nights of revelry and days of melancholy fuse into one another, day after day without respite — where these women live, and where these women die.
Most of the women who work in these so called ‘houses of ill-repute’ do not enter the trade out of choice. They mostly come from Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Nepal and are sold for money. These girls are lured into the grandeur of big cities and brought to places like Delhi, Calcutta, and Mumbai in the name of getting a job. The girls are deceived by their masters, who make them work for two or three months as a house maid or manual worker. They are then sold to a ‘naayika’, a senior sex worker, for a heavy sum of money.
As soon as a girl enters this den of vice, the ‘naayika’ levies a loan on her. For example, if a ‘naayika’ buys a girl for two lakh rupees, the amount thus paid has to be reimbursed by the girl herself — and that is not the end of her woes, as an additional 10% tax is levied on a monthly basis in the name of subsistence. If she tries to run away, her parents and society reject her and treat her like an outcast. The girl is thus trapped in a barbed labyrinth of troubles wherein she has no choice but to give into the demands of her ‘naayika’, ensnared in the house of prostitution.
The brothels follow a chain of command. The ‘naayika’ functions as the head. Young girls in the trade, as suggested, are hardly given money. The ‘naayika’ holds the reins of five or six younger girls who not only work for her but also bring in money for pimps, managers, police and various minor characters. Every woman attends to at least 10-20 clients a day, and more than 20,000 condoms are used every month.
HIV and venereal diseases are commonplace. An ailing or infected sex worker is left to fend for herself in her small, dingy, claustrophobic room. She might die out of suffering and ignorance but since she is an invalid, and thus valueless, she is hardly cared for.
The women who work in brothels have hardly known love, they have hardly been loved. All they have been through is unbearable pain. Each breath they take is another’s.
As dusk dawns upon Gaston Bastion Road, a strange heaviness fills my heart. Memories of people known and unknown flash before my eyes… grotesque pictures soak my heart… I see people involved in nothing but duplicity, deceit, treachery, betrayal and infidelity… All they want to do is use another, for gratification and pleasure… But what kind of contentment can one get by hurting another? By doing nothing but inflicting pain?
I feel sore, broken. A sense of profound pain fills my eyes with a cascade of tears. I imagine the world… bereft of love, bereft of emotions. Everywhere around me people hurt each other — lie — lie about their emotions, lie about their feelings, and lie about love… Sex becomes the only means of satisfying a soul. I do not say that sex is not important, but is it the only truth? Is it the only thing that matters? The concept of soul-mates is but a lie!
Love is slowly losing its innocence. It peeps through darkness like a scared, scarred child… apprehensive and timid… afraid to show its face to the world of experience… afraid to be tarnished by the flawed concepts of the world. Isn’t it time we erase the blemishes that scar the face of love?
People are dying all around… Out of hatred, abhorrence, abomination! Isn’t it time we realized the importance of love? Isn’t it time we held that beautiful sensation close to our spirit and tried feeling its life-breath? Love is a lie we tell to console ourselves… but isn’t that lie sweeter than the bitter truths of life?