I ogled at the baby placed in my hands. His round-black-innocent eyes, dusky coloured skin, curly jet-black hair, rosy pink lips curled one on top of the other reminded me of the rhyme I learnt when I was a year or two older than this baby. He looked at me with an intense stare and his lips curved to form a smile, which I knew would remind me in the worst of worst moments that it would be ok. I held him tight and kept my little finger in his tiny hands, and closed my eyes and
said promised, “chahe kuch bhi ho jaaye mein yeh haath nahi chodunga.”
Three years had passed since Rahul was placed in my hands. But I never had a moment where I did not keep my promise. Be it day or the worst nights, I always had him by my side, reminding me with that beautiful smile of his that it would be ok. Probably he wouldn’t calm me with the same smile once he grew up and realized what his mother did for a living, but I hope he would understand.
I was a graduate student. I completed my graduation in a very reputed college next to my village. I was a bright and ambitious student, may be if I wasn’t I wouldn’t have had this fate. A man came home, one day, and asked my mother, “kya aap apni neti ko kaam ke silsile mein Mumbai bechna chaathi ho?” My eyes would have nearly pumped out of my face, but thankfully they didn’t. My mother, unlike the others in the village, did not believe in getting her daughter married right after her studies. She wanted her daughter to work and earn money, before she could get her married off. Maybe if she followed the other women in the village, I would have been in some safe home, making dal and paratha.
I was called off from my past with a loud knock on my door. I opened it to a man in his early 40’s, who was drunk and barely in his senses.
Man: “Jaldi karo, mujhe zyada waqy nahi hai.”
"Kya aap shadi shuda ho?”
Man: “Haan. lekin use teri kya lena dena? jaldi karo varna mein kissi aur ka paas ka ja ongi. Bahut paise denge. Aa ja randi.”
With a sigh, knowing someday I would be the cause for the loss of his marriage, I agreed. Only to feed Rahul.
Sheela was a prostitute, by fate. The man who had taken her to Mumbai, was part of a sex racket, and had brought her over to sell her. She had no other go but to continue with her profession, since she had no other option to feed her son, Rahul. There are thousands and millions of Sheela's out there, and it is high time that they got the respect they deserved. They are in this profession because they have no other alternative. Provide them with one, and I am sure they would be more than happy and grateful to do a wonderful job out of it.
All characters in this story are of my creation. I had no intentions of narrating anyone's story or life. Any coincidence is purely fictitious.
Photo courtesy: Google