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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Move on

Bitter-sweet; is it not strange how two feelings of entirely different meanings combine to form a common memorable experience? And stranger it is when it appears at the same time of every year. October is marked by autumn in India; fall as they call it in western countries. The shedding of leaves is a prominent part of the season. Mother Earth sheds her old leaves and welcomes a new beginning of another winter season. Yes, from bygone years, the earth, sun, moon and the universe have been doing the same - move on.

It was one such October, a rainy evening. Asha was returning from office in her two wheeler. It was with great struggle she could ride.There were very few people on the road, mostly those in a hurry to reach their destination. The rest were under the protection of roofs and shelters. Asha wanted to be home to catch up with her weekend plans. As she disliked anything that came as an obstacle to her weekend chores, she cursed the rains and dared to ride home undeterred.

She approached a red signal at a road junction when she paused. Her engine was still roaring to jump into motion once the red turned green. But, something caught her attention. A sultrily dressed young beautiful woman was waving her hand towards her for a lift. The dampness of her clothes embraced her hour-glass body, making her desirable for any man who laid his eyes on her. At first, Asha thought it was someone else she was waving at and ignored the sign. Soon the lady inched closer towards Asha and made a gesture with her hand for a lift.

Asha decided to help this woman after a second thought. She signalled her to sit behind her. Riding pillion, she adjusted herself as Asha re-started her vehicle. As they progressed further on the way, Asha could not hold back her curiosity. She asked her for an introduction. The next couple of sentences that she heard, brought Asha's thought process to a screeching halt.

My name is Mallika. I am a prostitute. 

Really? She is a prostitute and where am I dropping her to? Another prospective customer? Or where she resides? What would people think of her if they saw her near her residence?

Please pull over here, I can walk from here to the place. She raised her voice suddenly.

Asha stopped the vehicle and turned her head towards her way. It was a dingy decadent place. As the local people saw her, they began catcalling and eve-teasing both the girls. Asha felt a sharp pang of disgust; disgust towards men. Men who could not see another human being in a female; men who could see only an animal of flesh and blood as their object of pleasure. A shudder ran down her spine and quickly Asha made a decision.

Mallika, she called out. Mallika stopped in her track and turned back.

Would you come with me?

Are you a lesbian? Mallika returned another question.

No. I want you to come with me as a friend and start a new life. I will send you to college, you can study and find a job for yourself, you can live your life with dignity.

Mallika hesitated for a moment. She walked up to Asha and stared at her with bloodshot eyes. She was crying.

It is the so-called dignified society of yours that has brought me to this situation. My ailing mother needs healthcare that I cannot afford by working. I am earning more than what I can make from a job. Many educated men who work at posh places come to me at night. You know what I feel? The life of people like you sucks. Your education system has failed, your family has failed and in all ways. Your men earn, pretending that they earn for their family and for their happiness. But, the paradox is they spend their money on me. They pay me generous amounts. Their house-wives may not even get so much as pocket money for a year. I can laugh at your lives and be content with mine. It is you and your society, who should know of dignity, not me.

Asha stood there for a long time, dumb-struck. Mallika had aroused a question that would stir her blood and thoughts for the whole night. But, never minding the perturbed air on that October 11th, earth moved on and it was night again. A night holds many secrets and the secrets dissolve into the darkest hours of night. Who would care about what happened to Mallika or her customers, the next day?

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. This week's WOW prompt is ‘Bittersweet October.'


Raghav Ravichandran said...

Fantastic write-up !! I see a future writer in you for sure!

A blog post worthy of the WOW badge!!

Sun Bloom said...

Thank you very much!