The IBNLive Review – On Nobody Can Love You More
Life in a red light district.
[By Vivek Tejuj]
The Bombay-based literary blogger Vivek Tejuja, who manages Of Books and Reading, discussed Nobody Can Love You More: Life in Delhi’s Red Light District, a book by The Delhi Walla, on the news site IBN Live. Click here to read it on the website, or see below.
I AM sure there have been many books written on the red light districts of the country. There are after all so many of them in every city, almost in hiding, in every nook. It is the world’s oldest profession and it has been created by the world. So there are no sides that need to be taken. This is precisely what ‘Nobody Can Love You More: Life in Delhi’s Red Light District’, a book by Mayank Austen Soofi, does. It takes no sides. It states what the author sees, feels and thinks. It is for this reason that I loved the book the way I did.
‘Nobody Can Love You More’ is about GB Road, Delhi’s famously infamous red light District. Soofi talks to prostitutes, the kotha (brothel) owners, the children of the prostitutes and to people associated with the trade. He doesn’t chronicle lives nor is it like, I said, an opinion on the way things are. It is just documentation with a lot of soul. The reason I say this is while reading the book, I was not sentimental. Neither did I cry. I did however get emotional at various points and it wasn’t because of the profession – which the women had chosen or forced into. It was largely because of the writing.
The intimacies are laid out. The gentle way Sushma pats Soofi’s hand as he gifts her his mom’s shawl to the way he almost becomes a part of Sabir Bhai’s (the owner) kotha. Yet, at the same time, I liked how the author questions his beliefs and ideas at every stage in the book. The question of morality, religion and hypocrisy hang in the balance. My best parts in the book were the interactions Soofi had with Sabir Bhai’s children and what were their ideas on the profession and about their hopes of the future. At the same time, I also enjoyed the way there was no fixed flow to the book. It just happened, like it had a life of its own, which I am sure it did.
Throughout the book I felt as though I could see and smell and sense GB road. It felt as though every action, word and scene was being played out in front of me. So much so that after finishing the book I went back to my favourite parts and reread them. Soofi does not at any point feel pity towards what the profession is and rightly so. Neither does it come across in the book. The book is just a reflection of what the so-called society is. It does not take a moralistic stand nor does it intend to.
‘Nobody Can Love You More’ is one of the best non-fiction reads for me this year. It shines not only in its writing but also beneath — the lives led by those in the so-called ‘flesh trade’. Its intent is not to sensitize the reader but to give an understanding of a life that sometimes we choose to ignore or turn a blind eye to.
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