Lily : A girl of the streets Part (2)
“Wait, please.” He said. I didn’t say anything because we still had some time and I had already made my point clear to him that I could stay only till 4 o'clock.
“What’s your name?” He asked in a hushed tone. He looked pretty sad and pitiful . This was not new for me because mostly who came to us were sad or frustrated, we are like tonic for them. A therapy to boost them up. I sometimes felt that we were like alcohol, people had us, in times both happy and sad.
“Lily.” I said and hearing it, he gave a twisted smile.
“That’s not your name, right?” He said sarcastically.
“Sahab, what’s in the name? I am known for my work, not for my name. And why to dishonor the only thing my parents gave me.”
Silence lingered between us till he broke it again.
“Why do you do all this?” It was not the first time I had heard this question, "Paapi pet ki aag hai , tum paise walon ko kya pata", I thought to myself but didn’t say it.
“Don’t be philosophical saab, start doing for what you have brought me here. It’s already 2:30 am.” I was not in the mood to discuss these things again. I tried to open up his pants but he again stopped me.
“I don’t want this. Can we just talk? I’ll pay you what I have promised you but please stay with me.” He literally begged me. I had no other option other than to sit there.
Silence filled up the air again around us. He said nothing for a while and then broke the silence with a queer question.
“Have you ever loved someone in your life, Lily? In an instance his words pinched like needles to me. For the first time someone had asked such a question. Without waiting for my answer he went on.
“I loved her a lot; she was my life; ,Nidhi my daughter.” He had tears in his eyes. I too felt heavy on my heart. My feelings immediately drew to my own daughter, Rimjhim who was the only jewel of my life and the sole reason that I was alive. This one line thawed the ice between him and me and he seemed more than just a sex-craving customer. “She was the reason of happiness in my life. I loved my wife because she gave me Nidhi.”
“She died today .” He said with an expressionless face. I was clueless what to say to that. “She was suffering from HIV. As a father, I tried everything I could do for my beloved daughter but nothing worked. There was no cure for her. How I wish God would have taken away my life but spared that of my daughter “
I was not much educated but knew very well about this disease - AIDS. It was as common as fever in our circles. He further continued "Nidhi knew that her end was near. She was merely 30. I could do nothing but to see her die a bit everyday". He then told me numerous stories of his daughter, which I listened to with rapt attention. We laughed, we cried, we smiled, we frowned, we missed her together….so much so that I never realized when the time flew.
When we were lost in memories of Nidhi, I sensed that the time had come for me to leave. He too sensed my urgency to leave. He searched for his wallet; For the first time in my life I wanted to say no but couldn't gather the economic-courage to do so. Money was vital for me. It held the keys for my daughter Rimjhim's liberation.
"Thank you for the night , Lily " he said before handing me the currency.
"Payal, My name is Payal". I didn't feel like lying to him anymore.
Just when I was about to go, he held my hand and said can I have some more time. I nodded my head to that as I sensed a spark of confidence in him. "Do you know why I told you all this?" Said he. I kept silent. He continued, 25 years back I was not the person that I am today. I was a drunkard who would beat his wife and abuse his children. In that lowly character of a human I sold my daughter in this racket for money when she was merely 12." That came as a shocker to me, ;but it was his present that mattered to me, not the past. So I deliberately didn't change my outlook for him.
Tears came again to his eyes and I could sense the deep sense of regret in his voice. I put my hand on his shoulders. "Several years later through hook and crook I made a lot of money and got into the club of the filthy rich . I had forgotten about my dirty past by then. I would often visit brothels and would demand a new girl every time . It was on one such night, that I was encountered by my own daughter as the-girl-for-the-night that I realized the blunder I had done as a father. A chill ran down my spine at the sight of my sick and frail daughter. I shiver till date whenever the thoughts of that night come to my mind. "
He continued further, "That was the moment of renaissance in my life, I fought tooth and nail to get my daughter out. It took several years for our relations to get to normal and for her to be a part of the so called civilized society. Ever since she came out, it had been the motto of her life to fight against this and prevent others like her from being sucked in. She worked as a social activist. I have been donating half of my earnings for this cause ever since.It was only few years back that we got to know about her fatal disease"
"Now that she is no more". Tears came instantly with these words and he started sobbing again.
It's easy to take off all your clothes and have sex, people do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone and letting them into your thoughts, fears, past.. that's being NAKED. And In that true sense , for the first time I had a man naked to me, and it was him.
After a brief pause he said. "It was her last wish that I should carry on the work that she had started. A long pause and then he uttered the following words, "In you I see my daughter. My long lost daughter. I want to take you and others like you out of this . And only if I could do this throughout my life will God forgive me for the worst possible crime I have done"
People kissed and licked my body everyday but at that precise moment he had kissed my mind and my soul with his words.
I couldn't believe my ears then. Those were the sweetest words I ever heard in my life. All I can say is, If ever, in my life, I came closest to God, it was then.
It has been 10 years since that incident. The one who changed my life forever is no more on this earth now. But I have been running the crusade to rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate sex-trafficked victims like me back into the society. Because I believe they deserve much better space and slice of the society. And my daughter, well she is a doctor today, who is busy spreading awareness about the cause and she doesn't charge a single penny to treat the patients. She doesn't want others to go through which she herself had to.
To read the 1st part go to the following link :
- Lily : A girl of the streets Part (1)
This story centres on a girl with pseudonym Lily . It is a story of her struggle & how one day her life gets changed forever for the better, and she becomes a source of inspiration for others like her.
Post Script :
A survey conducted by Indian Health Organization of major red light areas of India shows:-
1. 20% of the one lakh prostitutes are children.
2. 25% of the child prostitutes had been abducted and sold.
3. 6% had been raped and sold.
4. 8% had been sold by their fathers after forcing them into incestuous relationships.
5. 2 lakh minor girls between ages 9yrs-20yrs were brought every year from Nepal to India and 20,000 of them are in Bombay brothels.
6. 15% to 18% are adolescents between 13 yrs and 18 yrs.
7. 12% of the women in prostitution have been sold by their husbands
8. Of 200 million suffering from sexually transmitted diseases in the world 50 million are in India.
9. 14% of them are dev-dasis.
The facts are straight forward and so is the solution. At an individual level stop creating the demand , the supply will reduce overtime. Inform the police and the NGOs whenever you come across any such incident. They deserve equal share of the society as you and me do.
You are the problem itself , if you are not part of the solution.