Darkness Under The ‘Red Light’

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Cinema, Friends, Literature, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life)

After a long time i was discussing cinema, while Neeraj had called me up last night. Speaking about Dev D Neeraj told me that Anurag Kashyap had said in some interview taht he wanted to show why Chanda alias Chandramukhi became a prostitute which the earlier films based on Devdas did not try to explore. I liked this line of thought which said that a prostitute was a prostitute because of some reason.

As Neeraj gave this piece of information my mind went back to an evening at KC Canteen in Manipal where a friend of mine and i were having maggi and chai. As we were having our ‘politically excited’ talks (that days topic was- politics of smile)  i mentioned about the poems of P. Lankesh and i quoted a poem which says:

Granthagala Hottu
Hudugiya Kandu
Hoo Mudida Soole

(Looking at a girl
holding books in her hand,
a prostitute who decorated herself
with flowers

As i put a full-stop to my recitation, my friend said “prostitutes do it for fun” and i went wild. I thought it was a very insensitive stament to be made by  a sensitive girl.

I asked her if she ahd read the short story The Creepy Crawlies by Maxim Gorky? and she said no. I, then narrated the story of a prostitute and her disabled son who is helped by a man. At the end of the story, the prostitute asks the man how can she repay the man for all the help he has done for her son. The man remains silent and the prostitute says “i am ready to sleep with you” and adds “i shall cover my face with a cloth if you think my face is ugly.”

Narrating this story i asked my friend “Do you understand that the prostitute has nothing but her body to earn and also to repay?” My friend was shook by the story of Gorky. I Then recited a poem originally titled Paalu Yerra Baddayi by Nagnamuni, a Telugu poet:

I had a golden mother and a sister worth a diamond,
Every night my mother would put me to sleep and decorate herself and go somewhere.

Then my sister used to continue the lullaby and pat me on my back to keep my sleep alive.

My mom nor my sister, have shead tears before me.

But that night, mom cried….

It was late night and when i woke up,
surprisingly my mothers hand was surrounding me.

my throat was parched,
So i unbuttoned my mothers blouse
hoping to suck milk from her breast.

my mothers eyes were filled with tears and my mouth with blood.

some man had chopped off her bosam (nipple)
thinking he had paid for the body.

that day i understood that the milk in the breats of women like my mother
is red and not white.


This poem as my friend later told me was a “splash of hot water.” And she felt sorry for making such a statement about prostitutes. Its not just this friend of mine who felt that prostitutes were acctually prostituteds, there are many.

We not just fail to understand that they have been forced into something like prostitution but also fail to see them as human beings. Once a man from the hare kirishna hare ram group was preeching to a handful of group of which even i was a part. This man to preach the message “do not see bad things” narrated a story of a man who lived in the ‘golden era’ when Krishna was on earth. It seems this man saw a prostitute one day. Saying this the preacher said “In the times of Krishna when everything was so beautiful our man chose to see a prostitute.” Did he try to say that prostitutes are an antonym of beauty?

Discussing about prostitution my friend Prithvi made a good statement: “people sell their intellect and their ideology but none of them is treated badly but selling of the body is considered as bad”

Chanda the character of Dev D who turns into a prostitute because of the video made on her, at a later stage in the film says: “The video was not distributed nor circulated. Everyone downloaded it to see it and then called me a slut.”

Jo Nazar Bachaake Guzar Gaye Mere Saamne Se Abhi Abhi,
Yeh Mere Hi Shehar Ke Log Hai Mere Ghar Se Ghar Hai Mila Hua
(The one who passed by my side turning his eyes the other side, He is from my town and his house stands next to my house)

Thus sings Munni Begum in one of her Ghazals. Coukd she be speaking of a prostitute, i wonder.

07 March 2009

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