Monday, March 14, 2016

Dirty lanes..

The only highlight Shruti looked forward to was her evening stroll with her Aaji (grandmother) during those 2 months of summer vacations; that was packed with interesting encounters. Walking through local grocery market, cloth market, old market, libraries, utensils bazaar etc etc. Shruti noted her experiences in her diary that very night.

So much to see, learn and enrich, Shruti was a big fan of her Aaji. 

Today, Aaji decided to trudge through one such lane of the city, mostly populated with houses glued to each other sharing common walls almost looking like compartments of railway, whistles of pressure cookers adding hot steam in air with the aroma of rice and pulses, from somewhere radio playing songs of 80s and 90s, young girls in groups chatting, boys running and screaming, men stretching themselves in lungi's and pajamas discussing their day. 

These were normal houses with normal stories but judgmental eyes never saw the normalcy. The existence of people dwelling in never mattered to rest of the city. Shruti and Aaji passed another patch where women of different sizes, shapes, colour would wear make up and sit on threshold of their houses. She saw a woman, stout, square faced, neatly done eyebrows, dark red patchy lipstick, with a gajra, a cheap but sequined saree with a velvet blouse. Another young woman in a gown sitting with an old man. The other house with a woman getting dressed up and giggling in between and a man sleeping on an iron cot observing her, with lust in his eyes. The neighborhood teen aged girl in salwar kameez with a middle aged man, walking with his arms around her neck.

What Shruti observed was that though these houses looked normal, there was something abnormal about their existence. The women were sad but yet doing what they were supposed to do, they weren't cooking but were wearing make up. There was a man in every house but they didn't look like a family. Some houses had no one but the woman was sitting on the threshold waiting for someone to come, all decked up. A group of women with glittering clothes and loud makeup were chatting and looking around like a hawk. There was something unusual about these houses, these women, their stories and lives.

pic courtesy: google

Shruti asked her Aaji, 'Do they look different to me or are they really different. I mean the houses, the women, their lives?' Shruti had only seen them in movies and sort of knew that they exist in the society. 

Aaji smiled, 'You observed right, there is something different and the difference is that they are strong women, who live life on their own terms, they are prostitutes. They have their own society and are comfortable within their circuit. Society doesn't understand them, looks down on them but for me they are a living example of being strong. After all no woman chooses to be a prostitute!'

What is the purpose for me to see this Aaji? asks Shruti innocently.

Aaji replies, 'I want you to understand that the world is a place where flowers and thorns live together, dark and ugly have their own identities, rich and poor have their own existence, normal and abnormality are contradictory. What is abnormal to you is perfectly normal to someone else. So don't judge anyone and before having an opinion, think twice. Just as these women, they became prostitutes due to circumstances, wrong decisions. A person is not good or bad but circumstances and decisions unfortunately make them one'.

Shruti understood something, her Aaji was preparing her for years to come when she will grow as an independent woman in a society that is so biased and judgemental about women. That day she went back and wrote in her diary:

A woman never chooses to be a prostitute. She is a woman first before she is anything else!

1 comment:

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