A well connected by road, but segregated area with only more than a few houses. Complete rural atmosphere- mud houses and thatched roofs. You would fail to notice anything unless you are told!
This is the site of sex-workers in/around the city of
situated 30 kms away from it. As we get down from the bus, greetings of small children are heard. They greet us with shy smiles. Alwar
Are they the children of SEX workers? Are they legitimate or illegitimate? Are they ‘wanted to be born’ as much as we are? Have they seen their mothers sleep with different ‘Uncles’ visiting their home or have they spent nights alone in huts when their mothers goes to work at night! Do they actually understand the profession of their mothers? I seriously doubt it!
What do sex workers look like? They are humans just like us! All Females, of different ages-young and middle aged. Surprisingly, I did not see anyone old there. This thought comes to my mind just now. Where do they go when they start to grow old? Who fends for them then?
They remain huddled up in a corner when we make ourselves comfortable on charpoys. This is when you feel the unwritten boundary-a line which is stronger than economic status of people; it seems much stronger than the boundaries I have seen during trips to slums.
Are they any different? They are dressed decently in salwar-kurta- all of them. But just then I notice a little more than extra kajal in those eyes, lips a little more red and that cleavage showing the hint of bosom. I thank God, I did not wear kajal in my eyes today!
I look deep into their eyes and see no life. The face of the youngest doesn’t leave me-who has the mixed expression of shyness and desire to interact with us. She had been speaking to us before the elders took her place. She quietly shifted to one side and kept watching us with her big eyes.
They have been Devdasis since 400 years-it’s a tradition; now a culture here! Two out of a family of 3 girls take up sex trade as occupation. “Do you want to leave this occupation?” was our question. “We want to but can government give us some source of livelihood? Would that be better than earning 800-1000 per ‘sitting’?” Economy is not good there too-I agree but still they have televisions at home!
They knew about HIV and get themselves tested! They also urge their partners to use condoms during practice. But how do so many children surround them? How does it happen then? Was it a deliberate pregnancy-or that ‘lover’ did not agree to use condom during ‘making love’ to her? So many questions surround me!
A school is set up especially for their children but then children do not opt for other occupations even after that. I see the face of a 7 year old girl who looks at me with awe, one hand in mouth. Untied frock ribbon and her eyes look ‘not so bright’-what is she going to be when she grows up? She doesn’t have to wait for long to get an answer-just a few more years!
Impregnated with these thoughts I reflect that even in today’s times birth does make a difference to our lives just as it did in times of our forefathers! Where have we reached then?