Retrospection9 mins 21.7K 9 mins 21.7K
I have eradicated those memories which bring back the picture of my past life. I am not saying that I am unhappy. Indeed, my life has turned towards the worst, but I have understood that living with the past would not let me survive. Needless to say, I do not see any possible source of release. I have lost all hopes of resurrection with the gradual passage of time.
I am a seller of my body. It was a compulsion few months back, but now it has turned into my profession. Nobody sold me to the pimp. I sold myself for love, I sold my soul to my boyfriend who bartered with my body. It was my fault. My parents were right in disregarding him at the very first instance. If only I would have listened to them, if only I would have understood the reality of my boyfriend...
“ Anya, why don’t you get ready as soon as possible? Are you even aware of the identity of your customer?”
The rough voice of my boss broke my reverie. I looked up at him with an expression suggesting the utter disgust and contempt for the unknown customer. He seemed to understand that the identities of the customers did not bother me anymore as each one of them had robbed me off my own identity. “Do not stare at me. Get ready as soon as possible. He is a prominent personality of our town. You have to please him the way he likes. Your luck shines on you tonight.”My boss’s proclamation about my shining luck made me laugh sarcastically. Such is my luck that I have to sell myself to people and to such people who enjoy the nights with me only to abuse me in the company of others!
Following his orders, I got ready for the approaching monster. I dabbed red lipstick and deep coloured eye-shadow so as to hide my tears from my customer. I don’t know why, but I draped myself in the worse possible clothing. I got a fair jolt of shock when I viewed myself in the mirror. The lipstick made me look nothing short of a blood-sucking witch. Perhaps, somewhere in some corner of my heart I harboured the thought that such bad get-up would act as a repellent for the coming disaster...
Two hours passed since I got ready for the sacrifice. Nobody arrived. I heard the street dog whining under the window of my room. I went up to cuddle her. It was time for cuddling her. Each evening she sat under the window and called out to me. I transferred all my affections to her. While I sat with her, the clarion call of my boss brought me back to reality. I shooed her away with the words “Someday somebody will sell your body too”. Seeing my horrendous make-up, my boss gave me a cold stare suggesting further misgivings. Behind him was my client. From the corner of my eyes, I detected that his gaze was fixed onto my breasts. I shivered thinking of the rough time with the customer. But that was quite normal for me, because by that time I was well versed with the sado-masochist temperament of the men at my disposal. I entered my room quietly without looking at my customer. I stood near the window with my back turned against him. I heard him closing the door, bolting it tight.
My customer’s faint voice fell on my ears like a thunderbolt, for it was a known voice. I turned around instantly to face him. It was a face that I had seen, but I could not recognise him at that instant. It was as if my searching look coaxed him into saying, “Yes Anya di, you know me. I am Kishore.” Kishore was a social activist. He used to live next to my parent’s house. A perplexed feeling of bewilderment gripped me as i thought of the strong irony at work. That one question which wracked my soul was, “What is a social activist doing in a brothel?”
As if gauging my inner thoughts, Kishore promptly replied, “I have come here to take you away from this mess. The day I heard about your plight, I left no stone unturned to find you. I work for trapped women like you. I have negotiated with your boss. I told him that I have come to buy you off. Your parents know everything. I have come to return you to them.” Kishore’s eyes brimmed with excitement and joy. My joy on hearing him was unfathomable. After a long time, visible tears rolled down my cheeks. I visualised the picture of the forthcoming free life, in the arms of my mother. I asked, “How are my parents?”
Advancing towards me Kishore replied, “Your parents are doing well. Your brother got married to your friend last month. You are going to meet them Anya di.” At that moment I felt that Kishore was that gemstone of my life, he was that sapphire who brought me good luck. I felt like touching his feet. “I want to go home”, it was all that I could utter. Suddenly Kishore gripped my shoulders tightly. I did not understand his gesture at that instant. I only noticed his friendly smile turn into a crooked one. The corner of his lips curled to show his jutting yellow teeth.
“You will go home only if you do what I say Anya di. You cannot go home without pleasing me.” Kishore’s frantic declaration came as a bolt from the blue. I was shocked beyond explanation. I could not decipher the reason behind his sudden transformation. The way he gripped me conveyed to me the dark, ugly truth. The aggressive hunger in his eyes made it clear to me that behind the garb of a social activist was hiding the gross face of society. “You address me as your sister. How can you be so heinous?” “So? I don’t care for all these societal conventions.” I could not but feel frustrated at his brutality and hypocrisy. Despite his strong hold, I managed to free myself from his grip. With a swift movement of my hand, I slapped him hard across the face. “And you call yourself a social activist?” I couldn’t restrain myself anymore. Kishore was shocked at this. After a few seconds he replied, “If you won’t comply to my wish, You will remain a prostitute forever in the eyes of your parents and yourself.”
Kishore’s caustic remark compelled me to ponder over my present state of affairs. I thought of following his instructions which would actually help me. Anyways, there was so source of respite for me. What actually forced me to comply with his wish was the image of my parents desperately waiting for my arrival. After much trepidation, I agreed. Each movement of his body disgusted me to the level of infinity. His kisses were like bullets piercing my soul and shattering it to pieces. His love-making represented the total break-down of morality and conscience. The words that he uttered pelted fire on me. The figure of the former innocent looking Kishore flooded my thoughts. My parents had once even thought of asking him to marry my younger sister. What an IRONY!
Having finished his task, Kishore asked me to get ready to leave. With the mention of the idea of leaving this place forever reenergised my worn out body and soul. I heard Kishore speaking to my boss regarding the departure. After his conversation, he marched towards me and held my hands tightly. “Anya, I will free you if you promise to keep shut. In no way can you disclose what had just happened between us.” That he was a professional blackmailer was revealed at that time. I could not say or do anything. I knew I had to agree for my own betterment.
Kishore led my way out of the brothel, out of human hell, out of human morbidity, out of darkness. The bright street lights seemed to hurt my eyes and the shrill voices of the urchins pained my ears, for it was long since I had been amidst humanity. In a bid to shut out the voice of the children, I shouted out loud, “Please stop this noise, foolish fellows.” The silence of the brothel had been so loud that it had robbed me away from rationality. Kishore stared at me like one stares at a mad woman. Helpless tears rolled down my cheeks. After some time we reached the station. Kishore handed me my ticket to freedom. At last I was sure of his claim. “Go home safely. Your parents are waiting."
Two hours- the time required for my purgation was two hours. After the span of two hours I could have reached home. Yes, “could have”, because I DIDN’T go. I tore the ticket into two halves in front of Kishore. He stood there astounded. “I won’t go Kishore.”
“Why? Are you not well?”
“I am perfectly fine. It is my decision, I won’t go. Tell my parents that you couldn’t find me.”
Kishore’s bewilderment was visible. Twitching his eyebrows, he said “Are you absolutely sure? I mean you cannot get such an opportunity anymore. No one will help you.”
“I am absolutely sure.”
“Are you ready to be called a prostitute the rest of your life?” By that time I well understood Kishore’s urgency, for it was an urgency to act good before society, to act like a perfect social activist.
“Go away.” I did not want to speak any further. Having said this, I hired an auto and retreated to the human hell. Streams of salted water wetted my face and my kurta. O! How could I return to normal life anymore? How could I dare to do that? How could I even think of purgation when purgation is dictated by societal norms? Even if I would have returned to my parents, would they have accepted me whole-heartedly? After knowing that I have exposed myself to society, would the society not view me with a different perspective? Wouldn’t the men to whom I have exposed myself expose bitter truths about me? Won’t society disgrace my dignity by hurling abuses and conjuring images of the past?
If my parents could arrange the wedding of my sister without bothering about me, then they can easily manage without me. If they would have really wanted to take me away, they would have come with Kishore. Kishore’s untoward gesture had reiterated the actuality of society which cannot behave normally with a woman who sells her body.
I don’t know whether my decision was correct or not, and I don’t even want to know. What I know now is that I have embraced the human hell. I have embraced the Stygian Darkness... unending, unflinching...