City Notice –The Delhi Walla’s New Book
The first book on Delhi’s red-light district.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla has found a new home in GB Road, the city’s red-light area.
There I gossip with the prostitutes, eat meals cooked by them, and play with their children. The women of kotha number teen sau tell me things they don’t share even with each other. They talk of their lovers, of the families they left behind, and of their dreams. Together we listen to film songs. Sometimes we dance. I wrote all of this in Nobody Can Love You More, the first book on Delhi’s red-light district.
When I browse for books in, say, Khan Market, it is difficult to imagine that the world of the kothas exists in the same city.
The women, the pimps, the kotha owners. Is Sushma for real? She makes a hundred rupees from each customer, and she cooks dal chawal for me on the roof of teen sau. Roopa sends money to her husband in Bengal. He had abused her in the past, she ran away from him, but their relationship hasn’t died. Sumaira, everyone tells me, will not live for long. Meanwhile, the children of the kotha malik think of me as their best friend. We watch Salman Khan movies and sometimes when we are alone, we talk of their mothers and why they do what they do.
I did not just stay in the rooms where the women have to have sex with their customers. I stepped inside the secret corners of their world and found other realities, which are sad, but sometimes also beautiful. I looked for aspects that unite us with the prostitutes – our desires and hopes, our absurdities and follies, our loneliness and our fulfillments.
Nobody Can Love You More will be published by Penguin India later in 2012.
Life in Delhi’s red-light district