Memoirs of a Veśyā
Suppose I told you, people are escalating voices on my behalf today, you would probably believe that I have lived a life of popularity – one to be cherished and celebrated. But being ‘popular’ is not an adjective I ever wanted to be associated with. No one from our ‘type’ wants that. So, today, rather than exercising a feeling of importance, in the backdrop of slogans, I am just taking a moment to rest under the sky. Just to breathe. To feel the breeze against myself - a feeling that has long eluded me by the constant stampede of people. I am exhausted.
Like most of us, even I was not born into this occupation. I was naturally inducted into this play of transaction. One that bartered beauty. And till this day, I ask “Why, oh why did you make me beautiful!” It was this beauty of mine that was a delight to many and a relief for the rest. And today, it is me who has no relief. At times, I wish I was ugly and just ordinary. Then maybe everyone would
have ignored me, and I could have escaped this filthy existence of trading one’s innocence with money. As I watch the clouds pass above, I wonder how many at this very moment are being passed into this trade.
This life though is not my earliest memory. I remember myself as being just another local virgin. Whose natural features and ‘freshness’ allured everyone around. Then I was not an ‘object’ of attraction or desire. I was not a need but an essential for people in the town. I was part of them. I belonged to them, so they not only were attentive towards me but they all even had great regards towards me. They never discriminated. They were so fond of me, that they even altered their behaviour with every changing season that brought about a mood change in me. I was made to feel special. I had my own life.
“ I am just taking a moment to rest under the sky. Just to breathe. To feel the breeze against myself- a feeling that has long eluded me by the constant stampede of people. I am exhausted. ”
A kind of life where I would laugh and sigh with the people around me. Comfort when they remorse and even become their friend in solitude. They were all that I had and so I accommodated them all. I reciprocated what they required for their daily living. There was never a demand, it was never for luxury nor just pleasure. They asked, what they wanted, and I gave, what I could. Yes, they asked. If you were in my position you would realize how important this act of asking is. Asking is a sign of being mutual. Unlike today, when it is all about taking - one for granted. Is it so difficult to even to ask? You selfish creatures! How did you all mutate suddenly from then to now?
But I know when and how my life changed. I still remember that day. That dreadful day, when the outsider came to town. The locals like a regular day showed him around and then introduced him to me. I was blossoming at my best. Pure, chaste and pristine. The outsider was in awe of me. He never for once took his eyes off. He looked, peered, measured and ‘checked me out’ from all angles. His eyes had a look that said, “I have never seen anyone like this before!” But more than that it said, “You are an
invaluable property." The look had no love, no reverence but just lust. Those haunting eyes. If I knew what those eyes had in store for me, I would have ripped them apart that very day.
What followed from that day onwards, was first a surprise, for me and the people in town but soon became normative. It became my existence. The outsiders' influence brought a procession of people, whom all wanted to ‘see’ me. No, I stand corrected, they ‘desired’ me. One after the other, in a queue, in a crowd, they came to quench their thirst for pleasure. Like the locals around me, even I never realized what was unfolding. It happened so quickly that I could not retaliate. It was all very new. By the time I gathered my senses, I noticed that I had already been sold off. I was now a holding, that was being shared by all. And where? At my own very home. My home turned into a brothel.
And I turned into a mere figure that was tainted and soiled by the imprints of these people. Today, my existence is made up of the dirt, the filth, the scars, the humiliation and the damage that have been passed and pressed onto me by others. They extracted my beauty and in return just discharged their foulness on me. Not just the physical types, but even the behavioural ones. I am a witness to how people shifted from being kind to inconsiderate, from being content to greedy, from treating me as an acquaintance to an amusement. I became a toy that provided an alternative to their daily living.
“ The outsiders' influence brought a procession of people, whom all wanted to ‘see’ me. No, I stand corrected, they ‘desired’ me. One after the other, in a queue, in a crowd, they came to quench their thirst for pleasure. ”
Even after so many years, having been trodden by many such people, what still hurts me the most, is that first touch of exploitation. Those hands that felt me, the legs that brushed against me, the fingers that stroked over me, the way they groped me and even how they stripped and fiddled. All behind sounds of grunts, laughter and ecstasy. The humiliation made me rage, but that would not deter them at all. They just kept coming without care. For them, I was an adventure for a thrill, a territory for conquest and a destination which had to fulfil their monetary investment.
While the outsiders rejoiced with pleasure, what broke me was that the way the locals behaved. To whom I was companion, now utilised me for their own benefits. Not for once, they tried to stop these people from entering. On the contrary, they encouraged them. The once upon a time virgin now churned out income for them. They built shops, provided eatables, sold artefacts and even collectables that enabled guests to enjoy me better. They even built infrastructure. Now people came riding horses, on shared vehicles and even with roaring engines. Every benefit was laid out so that no one left disappointed.
Under the fervour created by the people, no one noticed my decay. Just no one. At times I wanted to rise and show what destruction I could bring. If I wanted, I could sweep them off my home, destroy them and ensured no one could ever reach up to me. But I restrained. Was I coward? No, for I know my rage would bring down even those who were not to be blamed. Why the hell I am so caring? They have done wrong and so they should pay, I should have told myself. Those savages! Those heartless merchants of money!
“ While the outsiders rejoiced with pleasure, what broke me was that the way the locals behaved. To whom I was companion, now utilised me for their own benefits. ”
What their efforts did, was to make me even popular. Now, I wasn’t just a celebrated figure in the near vicinity, my appeal had now reached the national level and reaching out to the global. What a story isn’t it – a local virgin to a global solicitor! This growing reputation brought with itself complementing aesthetics. New cosmetic treatment, more grandeur, more facilities. Now I had more customers to please, many to entertain. Lights, cameras, music, props, decorations – I was offering them a complete package.
In all that has unfolded in so many years, I just had one complaint, one question. “Why did not anyone ask what I wanted? Was my consent not required even once? How much could I bear?” Many a time I asked them to stop. Just stop! I shouted out No! I yelled out at them to go back! At times I harmed myself so that they would return, but all fell into blind eyes and deaf ears. Do you want to know what I ever wanted? I just wanted to live – in my own natural ways, amongst others, with the rest.
Today, none of this happened. What has happened is that even today they don’t ask what I want. All of them have just come to sympathise with me. You may ask why? Simple, again for their personal good. They want to sanitize, the ‘unwashed’ me and make me feel like a virgin again. The pure, unwilted and younger version of me. And while they do, the rest is already in search of another maiden. One they can start sharing with each other. That is how this business works. There is always a demand to satisfy this hunger, just the sources must be carefully handpicked. Just like I was plucked out.
“ Many a time I asked them to stop. Just stop! I shouted out No! I yelled out at them to go back! At times I harmed myself so that they would return, but all fell into blind eyes and deaf ears. ”
At this junction, I know what you are wondering. What different am I saying than the stories of my kind you have heard before. The anecdotes are the same, the sequence even similar and so will be the fate. The only difference is that for your kind, this commerce of flesh may be considered the oldest profession, but for me, for us, it is new. A decade and half old merchandising called as ‘tourism’. Fashionably also known ‘eco-tourism’. And ‘you’ my dear, work as both my pimp and my customer.
Yes, you. Now do not dare shy away from your own story. You are the one who has depleted me, robbed me from who I am and made me who you want me to be. Used me, utilized me, passed me from one hand to the other, left all your contaminants on me and recall me only through photographs and the ‘amazing’ time you had with me. You have experienced, screamed, loitered and had ‘fun’ haven’t you? You who have bought me from one and sold me to the rest. Need you want to hear more? Have you not done all that to me what I have penned above? And If I have missed, I am sure you could effortlessly fill the gaps. Is it not? Answer me! For you are answerable and will always be!
Well, on a parting note, all I would like to say is that I do hope I don’t have to meet you again. But if we do, do carry this memoir with you - forever, Nature.
Illustrations by Siddhi Khirad
Content and Authorship by PULP Crew