I am ‘She’. ‘She’ who no one dreams to be. ’She’ no one talks about. ‘She’ no one wants to know about. ‘She’ who lives amongst all of you, known by all of you, yet has no name in the society except the ones chosen to humiliate me. I am Chameli, Sheila, Munni, all that suits your fantasy, anything but me. I am a prostitute, and I am going to say it aloud. You think you know what this is about? My story of how I was forced into prostitution and about my unsuccessful attempts to run away from there? Remember, You know nothing about me, except what you choose to know about me. All that you made your world of were half truths. Yes, I was forced into prostitution, the half-truth that would satisfy the basis of new documentary you are making. But let me tell you today, I was forced because when my sister wanted education and my brother wanted to start business, I being the eldest in the family of three, and wanted to earn good money. Money that I could not have earned by working as a maid that I was. I chose prostitution, to realise my dreams, their dreams. Yes, I should have chosen to get educated, but could I have? Yes I should have chosen to work somewhere else, somewhere better, but who would give me a high paying job, you? I became a prostitute, because I wanted to live and breathe in freedom. I wanted to dictate the terms of my body, and not be abused and told by hypocritical men about the rules they can break and I should maintain. I wanted to be able to decide who looks at me how, and not be exposed to sleazy looks all around just because I exist. I chose to become a prostitute, because this simply was better. If you get convinced here, you will ask me, If I am enjoying it. Sometimes, the tone with the curve of your lips and narrowing sniggering eyes hurt. Yet your half cooked truths amuse me. No it is not entirely false, I enjoy it, because all I can think of is the plate of biryani and mutton korma waiting at the end of day. Does the increasing numbers bother me? It just means another plate of food, for me, for tommy, for my family, and for the children who come to me every day scrounging for food. No, no one enjoys numerous rowdy inhumane people who could have made successful Nazis during holocaust. Noone enjoys crying every hour, being rejected, dejected and spit upon. No one enjoys being lied to, thousands of time, hundreds of moments. But I choose it still. I choose it because I want to. Does your writing show me as an angel? Or will it tell me to hide my face in shame? Will your writing in the hundreds of others who wanted to write on me, change anything? Will you now see me differently atleast? But no matter what, I see you go back smiling, I saw some statements that you scratched out of the notes you made of me. I saw some half-truth that you wrote in margins. It will be interesting I think, to see the new colours you paint me in, new shades of the old colours. The black and the white, it is the grey you palate never makes. I will read you again, see the documentary, hear the news, and once again, I will be miserably happy and take rebirth in your half cooked truths.
– Parboni Bose