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A glimpse into the life of a prostitute... A real life story

I am a prostitute, working in the red-light areas of Pune. I have been in this profession for the last 25 years. People look at us with disgust and scorn. I have only one question to ask. Was I born a prostitute? No. Even I was born in a respected family. Then why does society look at me as if I do not deserve to live.

I was ten years old when my parents got me married to a man, much older than me. I was oblivious to the duties of a wife. I didn’t know what sex was and my menstrual cycle had not started. My husband forced me to have sex with him. He would beat me and starve me for days. He started having illicit relations with my sister-in-law. My objections were met with further torture. When I couldn’t bear it anymore, I left his house and went back to my parents.

When I was 11, my mother started having physical relations with a man in my father’s absence. Seeing my mother indulge in sex with another man, I was filled with curiosity and desire to experience it myself. There was a man in our locality who started coming to our house when I was alone. He forced me to do ‘things’ for him.

We were very poor and my father had to struggle to fill our stomachs. When my mother came to know about that man, she kept quiet. One day she asked me to go to a local pujari to have sex with him. “He will give us food to eat if you do certain favours for him,” she said. I started going to him and he gave us atta, dal and other eatables in return for sleeping with him. This went on for a long time. My mother started getting men to the house. I was 12 years old then.

After a few years, my family shifted to a construction site for work. There I met a man who got me a cooking job in a hotel. One day, he offered me cold-drink. I didn’t know that he had mixed a drug in it. I became unconscious and was raped by two men.

When my father came to know about this incident, he beat me up and tried to strangulate me. In a fit of anger I left my house and went to my relative’s house in search for a job. My aunt promised me a job in Pune. She brought me to Pune and sold me to a gharwali (brothel-keeper) for 500 Rs. That moment changed my whole life and attached the tag of a prostitute to me.

Since then it has been a roller coaster ride. I met a man who promised me a good life. I stayed with him for a few years after which he fell for a young girl and left me. I had to again go back to prostitution to support myself. In the meantime my father died and I started supporting my family with my earnings. I got my sister and brother married. They are the same people who now don’t allow me to enter their house. They say it affects their reputation.

I’m 45 years old now. It has been 35 years of struggle to survive in a world which does not respect a woman. I'm staying with a man now. He’s not earning and I’m supporting him. Why am I doing it? Because then I feel like going home, thinking that someone is there. Like everyone, I also need a companion and ‘sahara’ {support).

That is my life story in brief.  I blame my parents for getting me married at such a young age. I blame my mother for destroying my life when she cajoled me into this profession. A man suppresses a woman in our society. It is strange why a woman cannot understand another woman.

All the women who work here have their own stories with one thing in common: no one has come here out of their own choice!!!!!!

(As narrated to Amita Makhija)