Terrorizing, awe-inspiring, fierce and compassionate, this picture story is about a 14-year-old girl who falls victim to human trafficking. She is forced into prostitution at a young age. The story is titled Bhairavi. Bhairavi who happens to be the fifth Goddess within the Mahavidyas. She is believed to be an epitome of strength and compassion. She is also known as Shubhamkari.
Bhairavi uses violence to control those who are irreligious and cruel. We hope that this picture story, penned down in the form of poetry, enlightens and shifts your focus on the struggles of women living in red light areas. Kat Katha, an NGO which has been tirelessly working to empower several sex workers in and around the GB road area happens to be the inspiration behind this story.
I was 14 when I fell in love for the first time.
From Rampur to Dilli,
I ran to keep him above,
my aspirations, my family and my village.
In front of love,
everything shifts under the foliage.
Holding the hand,
I trusted with my whole;
All hell broke loose when he handed the same to a woman unknown.
Dragging and pushing me into a dark world;
Semen smell, and condoms,
the 14-year-old had, earlier never heard.
Red light pierced through my eyes in the stinky decoration,
When a didi forced some on my face, all in the name of fashion.
I kept banging the door of the coffin-sized room.
A man with a big belly broke my isolation soon.
I yelled at him for help;
Begged him to take me to my father’s land-
He held my hand, not to aid,
but what he did next was a sign of hate.
For the first time,
I felt the pain between my legs
As he pushed and pushed with all unheard negs.
He touched me everywhere, and it felt like an itch;
He said my breasts weren’t that ‘rich’.
My soul was set on fire,
As my body enveloped within his arms like a tight wire.
I didn’t understand what was going on,
but that touch was full of filth and scorn.
Papa always touched me as if I was a Barbie doll,
but this man treated me like a bouncing ball.
He turned red,
As I tripped over the bed.
He sprinkled something in white,
and smirked in pleasure with a sense of pride.
Pushing me as I tripped over the bed,
leaving me naked with no words said.
I gathered some clothes to cover my half-dead body;
A bleeding vagina, swollen eyes and a nose too snotty.
He left the room abusing me with a word or two,
And I gathered the courage to touch the part never ever touched by anybody.
A woman entered my room
She slapped me hard;
I fell on the ground like a broken shard
Didi as she would be called,
held my jaw in her hands, as she growled.
“10 minutes-Get ready for next costumer” she said
“Don’t forget the makeup, you little witch with lips-red.”
I had hardly gathered my inevitable pieces together,
when another man came in, and then another, and another.
Each part of my soul gets sold as I stand outside in the lobby.
To look attractive and sniffy has become my hobby.
The state doesn’t give me an identity.
Aadhar doesn’t carry the damned address of my fraternity.
Slut, pimp, cunt they call me now;
My profession itself has become a curse somehow.
It never stopped raining in the coffin-sized room,
As I turn 34 today, with a girl who might bleed pretty soon.
My girl is 14 now, and I don’t want her to go through the same pain;
I want her to get educated because education never goes in vain
I was 14 when it first happened to me,
Now, I don’t wish to be set free.
Every single day seems like a bad dream,
Now, I can no longer scream.
In frame: Simran Kapoor(as Bhairavi), Arushi Rana(as Didi and the man) Photographer: Anubhav Goyal
About the Creative team: Simran Kapoor is a Kathak dancer and a poet who wishes to empower sex workers, rape victims, acid attack victims, through self-employment. She also dreams of portraying their stories through an annual dance drama, “Chiraiya.” Her mother’s NGO, Manas Welfare Society, provides employment to underprivileged women. Simran has graduated from the Miranda House (University of Delhi) and is currently preparing for the civil services exam.
Anubhav Goyal is a fourth-year B-Tech student at the Shiv Nadar University. He is a passionate photographer. He has been doing portrait and travel photography for a few years now and wishes to tell stories through pictures. They have both come up with a photo story revolving around the apathy surrounding sex workers in India and Bangladesh.