Tale of a prostitute from Heera Mandi, Lahore

Tale of a prostitute from Heera Mandi, Lahore

The thirst for a glass of water awoke me from a deep sleep and long night. Beside me lay a naked man snoring loud with his breath gushing in the odour of strong alcohol. The mere presence of this naked man, snoring beside and within my chamber made me quite nauseous. I wanted to puke and so got out of bed for a fresh breath of air but with the jingles of my ghungroo, adorning my ankles, interrupted his rather deep and peaceful sleep.

“Slut!” he screamed.

I COULD NOT RESIST BUT CHUCKLE. I BELIEVE HE DID NOT REALIZE THAT SLUT WAS NOT AN ABUSIVE WORD FOR ME, BUT ACTUALLY WAS THE WORD THAT DEFINED WHO I AM. HE SMACKED ME HARD ON MY FACE AND ASKED ME WHAT WAS SO AMUSING. I CHOSE TO STAY SILENT BECAUSE ‘RESPECTED’ PEOPLE LIKE HIM DID NOT ENGAGE IN CONVERSATIONS WITH PEOPLE LIKE ME. BUT, I THINK THEY DO NOT FEEL ASHAMED WHILE BEING ‘INSIDE’ OF ME. HOW IRONIC! I HONESTLY SUPPRESSED THE URGE TO LAUGH THIS TIME.

So, I take off my ghungroo and put them aside. Without them I feel free but unknown as nobody knows who I am once I walk pass by without them. But everyone knows what I am – I am a woman; I am a living being. Prostitution is what I do, but it is surely not who I am. It was not like I was given a choice. Nobody in their right mind would ever choose this life – a life so low that you do not need people to tell you how disgusting or desperate you are. You cringe at yourself. Disrespect from other people does not matter because you do not respect yourself anymore. Nobody harbouring a speck of sanity respects you and that is completely okay, I guess. I don’t know…

The moment I opened my eyes, I found myself amongst these people, within these walls. Born in this brothel, I never knew who my father was, hence being the biggest blot on my life. My mother knows I am being raped; yes raped.

Rape is sex without consent and I did not sign up for this miserable life. I also want to live a normal life. I wish to love and be loved just like every other respectable woman. Why was I chosen to be born here? What was my fault? But, if it wasn’t me, then it would have been someone else. Why am I frowned upon? Why?

That man sleeping and snoring naked in my bed was on the television talking about abolishing brothels the next morning. So, now that we are done talking about how filthy and disgraceful I am, let’s take a second and talk about hypocrisy, what say?

hemani

Isra Shams

"Fashion is life and living in style makes a statement worth a while!" Hey, I'm Isra Shams, the Managing Editor at Brands Magazine & FHM Pakistan.

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