Jay patted on her back, to calm her down. Tears from years back, were still wet enough, and wounds still pained and hurt. Never in his life had Jay encountered such a situation. All his staff and juniors, called him a grumpy man, a man who never smiled, but was perfect in his job, even Jay couldn’t believe that he experienced so many new emotions in him, tonight.
Gudiya drank a glass of water in a sip, and hugged Jay tightly. She was shivering and trembling with fear and terror. Jay lost his strength to ask her for more information, he just wanted the lady to calm down.
‘Feeling better?’ Jay patted her head.
‘Hmmm…’ Gudiya sniffed. She was still sobbing lightly, but continued with her story. Jay didn’t protest. He knew how much strength did it take for the woman to speak out her heart. He simply listened with his camera focusing on the bravest woman he ever witnessed.
‘Mumbai, people call it a city of dreams, but for me, it became the city of nightmares and horrifying events. I can never forget the 3 years spent there, before coming to Thailand. I was sent to another pimp, I requested her, pleaded her, begged her to free me, but she was even worse than the one in Delhi. Delhi woman was shrewd and strict, but the one in Mumbai was lenient, who always promised me freedom, but never granted it.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘She would always say, this is your last night, get me five thousand rupees, and you can leave tomorrow. Girls would beg the customers for money, who would beat them and treat them like shit, for few thousands, but even if they succeeded to get the money, the pimp would never free us. I never encountered the poisonous side of a human being, unless I met him…’
‘Himanshu. He was a regular customer, unmarried, and young. I thought I fell in love with him, but I was wrong. It was never love, but lust. His lust, for my body…’ Gudiya started crying again.
‘If you’re not okay, we can do this some other time, please don’t force yourself…’
‘Saheb, I don’t know if I’ll be alive tomorrow or not, but before dying, I want someone to listen to my story, and know that there is another side of life too. Life is not always as calm and obedient as we think of it. I count each day as a blessing now, when I wake up in the morning and see the sunrise, I thank god for keeping me alive for one more day, because the life I’m living, has no guarantee of survival.’
Jay stared at his arm, which now developed tiny goose-bumps. His soul shivered, and he felt an urge inside, to kill himself. He was unworthy of whatever he had, and people who deserve a life, received hell.
‘What happened to Himanshu then?’
‘He was a beautiful man, a man of my dreams. He drove a taxi and often took me to beach, where we would sit and talk. One day, after making love to him, I told him that I loved him. He got up, wore his clothes, and said, ‘Girls like you are for entertainment, enjoy, and leave. Do you bring the cinema home after watching a movie?’ His words pierced my heart, and I couldn’t even reply him. I knew he was also right on his part. I was nothing more than a piece of entertainment…’ Gudiya again broke down.
‘I’m sorry I’m interrupting you again and again, but I can’t control my heart whenever it comes to Himanshu…’
‘It’s completely alright…’
They took a few minutes break. Jay ordered the dinner. Gudiya was mesmerized to see delicacies served to her.
‘What? Haven’t you seen food before?’ Jay laughed a bit.
‘I have, but not as grand as this feast. Thank you, Saheb.’ Gudiya looked at Jay with a shining smile on her face.
Just a good meal brought her happiness, how simple and non-demanding life she lived. Jay was immediately reminded of his college days where one day, he went to Mahi’s home, and she prepared some lunch for him. And he didn’t ate even a single bite, as it had high amount of salt. How much would it have hurt Mahi? He thought. He looked at Gudiya, who was enjoying her meal with full pleasure. He looked up and thanked the almighty, for giving him a luxurious life, and gently whispered: ‘Sorry, Mahi. Please forgive me…’
‘What happened? Aren’t you going to eat?’
‘Of course I am!’ Jay took his plate and poured some gravy over the rice, and started eating.
‘Have this, it’s awesome…’ Gudiya passed over some cake to him. He gently picked up a small piece.
‘Have more, please!’ Gudiya insisted and placed a bigger piece in his plate.
‘No, please. I don’t like sweet things, I’m afraid of diabetes!’ Jay chuckled. Gudiya laughed heartily. She looked so beautiful while laughing. Why God is so unfair at times? Jay asked himself.
As they finished off their dinner, they were again back to shooting. Jay set up his camera, with the red dot, on Gudiya’s face, she looked better now.
‘Himanshu left, like the others, but the difference was, he touched my heart instead of just my body. But I moved on somehow, I knew my life was not normal, and I can never settle down like a normal woman. I am trapped into a cage, from where death is the only escape. It was 3 years now, that I was into this filthy business, and I was tired of the hide and seek I played daily, to try to escape. I was tired…so I gave in. I lost all faith, and hope, I met many men, who guaranteed me freedom on the cost of one night, but I knew, it was never gonna come, so I never expected.’
Jay sighed. His own life, his problems, all seemed so tiny in front of Gudiya’s life. He felt ashamed of himself for being so bossy and superior at times, for being so indifferent, and rude.
‘Men would come to me, with fantasies of their own. Some would slap me while doing me, while some would force me to call them: brother, uncle, chacha, and some were so horrible who would insist me to call them ‘dad’ while they did me!’
Jay continuously looked down, he had no words, no questions, and his strength to interview her anymore, was exhausted out. He couldn’t believe how low were the self-esteems of the people, to make her say all that. They fantasised their own sisters and daughters, how inhumane were those people. But then, stepping inside a brothel was the first inhumane and disgusting task to do, let alone making the prostitutes call them names. Paying someone for a night, is the most horrible thing one can do, it simply means exploiting the poor for money, taking advantage of innocent girls, and ladies, who are forced into this business.
‘I know it’s disgusting. Even listening to all this, glues your sight to the ground, then what about girls like me? Who are forced to do all this? After spending hellish years in Mumbai, I was sent to Thailand. My pimp sold me for money, because I was beautiful…they say. Am I really beautiful, Saheb?’
Jay just closed his eyes, and tears escaped down to his cheeks. He had no words to describe, how beautiful she was…