DNA Review – On Nobody Can Love You More
Life in a red light district.
[By Varsha Naik]
Varsha Naik of the Bombay-based DNA newspaper talked about Nobody Can Love You More: Life in Delhi’s Red Light District, a book by The Delhi Walla. Click here to read it on the newspaper’s website, or see below.
When I picked up this book, I expected something hard-hitting and jarring, something that would rattle me as I read it with it’s imagery and language. I was pleasantly surprised to discover instead a narrative that was graceful yet powerful, which moved me from within and left me thinking and blinking as the content sank in. Soofi submerges himself in the world of Kotha No. 300 on Delhi’s GB Road, and learns about the lives of the ladies, maliks and children of the red light area. If it can be called as such, the sex workers of the kotha bring Soofi into their professioanl space and share with him some, if not all, intimate details of how they got there, and what their lives entail. He also learns about their dreams — the ones of the past and some that they hope will come true someday.
Apart from his interaction with the ladies and maliks, Soofi makes friends with the children who live in the kothas and finds them to be resilient and sharp. Some even feel ashamed of what their mothers and aunts do, fear the wrath of Allah for the sins they are committing and hope for a life away from the undignified world of kothas. Soofi’s interactions with them are insightful and alarming at the same time. A delicate balance exists between the kothas upstairs and the shopkeepers below — a dynamic that is well described in the book. The kotha ladies often visit temples, mosques and shrines, and are not shunned in these places of worship. For the most part, they live for their children and the occasional lover, and find meaning in their existence through the small things in life.
Accompanying Soofi’s simple yet real language and portrayal of the life of Kotha No. 300, are black and white photographs of the kotha, its inhabitants and its ambiance. An easy and absorbing read, Soofi’s writing is precise and gripping taking you into the gali of GB Road where you can actually feel the ladies looking down on you, calling to you and trying to reel you in, up the stairs to their abode.
Available in book stores and shopping websites across India