I Am A Woman
I Am A Woman4 mins 12.3K 4 mins 12.3K
I am a Woman, but a Woman who lives in the Red Light Area. Will Story Mirror allow me to tell my story on Women Writers’ Page? ”I would like to share my sentiments with other women, who might empathize with me, being women!
I used to live at Kamdhenu village in Midnapur. Our hut consisted of a few bamboos, and leaves knitted together, supported by plastering of mud. The roof was made of red broken tiles, through which rain water would seep in. It would be difficult to sleep in the night. We used to keep our pots and bucket to collect the water, which also were not sufficient, as sometimes the water poured in in torrents. Invariably, we did not get proper rest at night, as vampire-like mosquitoes tormented us, by sucking blood, which left red inflamed swellings with intense irritation. Their constant buzzing was so disturbing that we had to cover ourselves totally, from head to toe, like a mummy. One can imagine how uncomfortable it was, when it was intensely hot in summer, in a small cooped up room, with no ventilation.
The occupants of this abode were four, my mother, brother, sister and me. You will perhaps wonder why I did not mention my father. It was about five years back, that one day police men entered our hut, and arrested my father. The reason was, that when he was drunk, he had hit the owner of the liquor shop with a stick so hard, for refusing to serve him without payment, that the man had died instantly. He was in prison on the charge of murder.
I had some kind of schooling till my seventh class but when father had to go away, my mother needed me in the house to look after my brother. She tried to earn some money for the family by cooking, and cleaning dishes, in the houses of our neighbors. My brother was ten years old but he seemed to be a five. He was only skin and bones. Large eyes looked too prominent in sunken cavities. The colour of his eyes was yellow and he vomited every now and then. My mother had taken him to the hospital two years back, but the hospital was too far, and carrying him was a problem. My sister was seven years old, but she too looked skin and bones, because of the lack of any nutrition.
We could never have anything which was nutritious, because it was difficult for my mother to afford anything, excepting our ration of rice. I used to go to the market, and collect the discarded vegetables, such as the leaves of cauliflower. My mother used to boil it in water, with some salt and turmeric, and that was all that we could get to eat day after day.
This is in brief my life before I came to the Red Light Area. Then one day my mother came to me. With her voice quivering with emotion, she opened up her heart to me. She told me, with tears rolling down her eyes, that as I was the eldest, though only sixteen years of age, she was going to ask me for a very big sacrifice.
She confessed that there was no means by which she could earn any more. On the other hand there was no suitable job for me in the village. Besides I did not have any qualification to get a job in the city, which perhaps one could get with proper contacts. My brother was very sick. He would die. To save him, she had to give him good food and medicine. She needed money to get him treated. After many pauses, in between the wiping of her uncontrolled tears, she came out with what she wanted me to do.
I agreed. I loved my brother so much that I could do anything for him. I reflected that when the devotees tried to express their love for Mother Goddess Kali, they would sacrifice the most precious thing before her, which would be the son. In the same way on the altar of my love for my brother, I would sacrifice willingly, the most precious possession that I had, and that was my body.
The day I left with the Agent, I was happy to see my mother with crisp five thousand notes. I knew that my brother could be taken care of, and one day he would be able to run about like all other children. And now whatever money I earn, I send home for my starving family, feeling good that at least, they do not have to go to bed hungry night after night. I knew well the pangs of hunger! For me, this is both my profession and compulsion. This is the only way I can help my dear ones, and as a woman, I am proud to be able to make this tremendous sacrifice.