Goddess Durga’s idol made during Durga Puja is incomplete without the soil from the house of a sex worker. The belief is that the soil should be begged for and received from a prostitute’s hands as a gift or blessing. This is a letter from such a prostitute to Maa Durga. Blue Eve says that the vagina that bleeds every night and yet is celebrated only before the idol is made. Here’s her heart-wrenching monthly column that exposes the double face of the patriarchal society, in the name of noble religious traditions, exclusively in Different Truths.
Dear Maa Durga,
Maa, they came in hordes again this year. Almost three months before you came, to our brothel doors. And like every year, their thoughts and intentions on reaching our doorsteps were not in tandem. Trust me, those men who would worship you in grandeur in a few months’ time asked for that customary soil. We sold it to them this time. Our head mashi said we too should earn from these organisers. Why give them free? They spend lakhs to worship you, so how can they take away the earth from our doorstep without paying us? After all, they pay for entering our vaginas.
They said your idol making would be incomplete if they didn’t take soil from the house of a sex worker. We were supposed to bless them as a custom. Only then your worship would be complete. What hypocrisy! They worship a goddess but look down upon us as objects of lust.
Aren’t we women? Don’t we represent you on this Earth? I am sure you no more come to this earth as they say you do. Wish you stayed back in heaven and never came down representing the triumph of good over evil. I find evil all around, I am sure none of your weapons have been successful to kill any of those demons, who raped the beggar girl snatching her from the mother’s clutches one night, or the ones that killed their babies for they were born as girls.
I refused to bless those men. They were laughing at us, some were staring with curiosity as if they had come to a zoo. Their eyes were shining like those hungry wolves and they looked no less evil than that demon at your feet. Jaggu was part of the team. Remember, that old man who tried to steal my daughter Bela and sell her off to a customer? You never came to my rescue that day. It was Maya didi and her NGO who saved Bela and put her into a missionary school at Ranchi.
Ma, at times I miss Bela. Her soft limbs like the first petals of a budding flower, like that lotus they give at your feet. I never allowed one dirt to settle on them. And yes she is so beautiful, like you. I miss her in the mornings when after the clients leave and this dingy room where I live feels like a prison cell. I wish I could see her smile to forget all the pain of silent nights. How these very men who worship you in the name of triumphing over evil would ravage my body and soul, and how I sell myself to them for money. At least, Bela will never face them. I hide my tears every night, though during the day I behave like any normal woman, going to shops, cooking, paying my bills.
Over the years I have learnt not to feel the physical pain anymore, especially when some of the over-zealous clients try out perverted sexual acts on me. They pay me more for such stuff.
I don’t mind the pain, for that extra fad of notes means a new dress for Bela and some good story books that I can send her.
I have learnt a trick to relieve the pain of the body and soul. Every time they ram me, I start dreaming of that far-off village in the mountains of Nepal from where I was brought down to your city. They say you live in Kailash, a similar snow-peaked range that I could often see while going down to fetch water from the rivers. Wish I lived there even today, but who knew that my own father would sell me off to meet his debts? I was a girl of just fifteen then and when he said I shall travel to a city I was so happy. I had never seen buses, cars, trams till then, other than the caravans of mules that walked up our mountainous roads. My mother never allowed me to go anywhere near the town, even to fairs. For she said there are wolves on the way and I was so pretty they would pounce on me! I now know who those wolves were. I have been meeting them every night since I had first been brought here.
They say men leave their purity and virtue outside before entering a prostitute’s room, and hence the soil at our doorstep is virtuous! We live in forbidden territories. Maya didi once said it’s the society’s way of including us into the string of festivities that follow on your arrival. But for the rest of the year we are never invited to weddings, annaprasans, or any festivals and ceremonies where wives of those virtuous men who visit us often go. For we are the fallen women. We live in seclusion along the margins of this society. Then why when you come we shall help with the soil to build your idols? Hope you will answer me, this time, Maa Durga and please bless that I get clients every night, one missed night means less money and the pimps have increased their rates. Bela wanted the whole encyclopaedia series for her birthday. I need to save up.
Pix from Net.