I stood there bewildered, too tired to cry, too numb to feel the shock waves. I was all deaf n blind to the ear cracking voices, to the bustling streets, dingy houses, plunging necklines with raised eyebrows, garish makeup and everything else.
With a air of festivity , of celebrations , from Mahasaptami to Mahostami my life bought me from Park Street to Sonagachi – Asia’s largest red light area.
Crestfallen , helpless ; agony ,aghast and despair were creeping to every cell of my body,to every nerve ending, highly demanding to be felt.
Draped in a net saree, folded cleverly to highlight the so-called assets, pancaked with makeup, my lips smeared with the scarlet tint, eyelashes brushed with heavy mascara and the stale floral smell of the provocative perfume, vapourizing from my fabrics, they made me stand still and attract customers. CUSTOMERS they said.
“How much”he asked.Someone negotiated and I was dragged into the dingy cell.
He introduced himself as Dev Sengupta.We both were lockedup in a room where the suffocation of uncertainity prevailed blended with an unknown fear.
Dev- I heard you have a daughter!
“yes” I replied .. of 6 months old.
Dev- Why into this crap? You want your daughter to continue it?
At that questions, I felt the blood gushing down through my veins, with a motive to explode as a fireball, to let every unsaid, unfelt emotions out, to let just the woman inside me to speak out aloud…or to be frank to blame and abuse.
“ No woman by choice would ever want to be here, to be labeled as a whore or a slut or as your decent society would say- a prostitute. Probably people of outside world don’t know that there is no escape route for us ! It’s a loop, a vicious loop.
Every moment the woman within you would be defamed, assaulted, bargained. Your heart would be screaming to run away, but you are chained invisibly by fate or by force..
AND I WONT let my daughter into this filthy trade, come what may!”
There was an awkward silence in the room. Deep through the fabric, through the skin, Dev met the undaunted lady, guided by principles, basked in determination, there she stood.
The scruffy curtains of shedding makeup muffled a face of innocence , the mascara shadowed the eye which was never glued to the lust in the hovering hungry eyes. Their eyes met with a fierce gaze.
And for both of them it was a moment of ecstasy as if every cell of their body was about to explode into a celebration of fireworks, a celebration of love and not lust.
What’s your daughter’s name?
Rudrani will never do this. Its a promise and it’s not fake.
Days passed by and so did their meetings.It was as if two souls hovering around each other, twisting playfully, helding love.
She let Dev undress her emotions, with a naked view of faith and trust, unhook her darkest secrets and blissfully inhaled the aroma of peace.Dev wrapped her pristine soul and locked her in his arms love and affection.
Dev – “ I want to marry you dear. I want to adopt rudrani. I will try hard to convince my parents, leave them if needed.You healed my every wound with your virgin soul, I love you. “
Dev filled my every void with infectious laughter and damp soggy mumblings.
I thought to myself with moist eyes and a widened smile..quite contrasting!!
Dev found a letter kept next to Rudrani
I love you like no woman would love her man , beyond this worldly pleasures , from alpha to infinitum. You dared to love a woman though with a virgin soul but with a traded body. But who am I to marry and destroy you, to separate you from your parents. Marry a pristine girl and be happy.
But I request you to take care of Rudrani, make her a doctor. I love you enough to leave you, trust you enough to leave a part of me with you..
…. Still holding the letter in hand ,after 25 years Dev was bought back to reality by a sweet voice
“Baba , its time for your medicines. Come quick, am getting late for the hospital”.
Again with moist eyes and a widened smile Dev came and said “ Yes daughter, Sorry I mean our Dr. Rudrani Sengupta , lets go!!”
Dev thought “ I had told you, it’s a promise and it’s not fake!!”