“I charge 2000 bucks for one night. Take it or leave it.”
“2000? Isn’t that too expensive?” With wrinkles all around his face, hair which had turned white and a frail body structure, age seemed to have caught up with him.
“Hey uncle! Looks like you are new to this place. No one has the guts to ask me such questions. You are old enough to be my grandfather and that’s why I lowered my rate out of respect. Otherwise, you can ask anyone, my rate is not less than 3000 per night.
Looks like, you still want to enjoy some nice sex, is it?” I nudged his arm and winked.
And so I got my first customer of the New Year. No one cares how the customer looks or thinks like. If he is ready to pay what one demands, there’s nothing better than that.
The room was dark and dinghy. The paint had ripped off the walls and it seemed as though no one had bothered to clean it since the time it was built. There was an acrid smell around which would have put off anyone.
But then, I wasn’t here by choice, was I? My mother died so many years back that I don’t even remember. The only thing I do remember is mom and dad fighting as if there was no tomorrow. Their fights were so violent that I used to hide in my room fearing for my own life. The marks on my mom’s body were the grim reminders of dad’s anger. There was never a day when he hadn’t hit her.
And then one fine day, all of a sudden, she just left all of us. She seemed to have lost all hope on her husband. Her body couldn’t take it anymore. She couldn’t fight anymore. And so she just gave it all up.
So what could Dad do now, I hear you ask. He did what he wanted to. At that time I was too young to understand. But now if I think of it, he just used me to satisfy his voyeuristic pleasures. He drank every day and repeated the same story every night. Before I knew, I was sold off! He was not a father but instead a voyeuristic bastard who could do anything to enjoy a piece of flesh for sex.
For the first few months, I felt dirty. I felt like a slave. I felt like a sex object being used by people just for their personal needs and then being thrown away.
I encountered men of all kinds. Whether it was a youngster or an oldie, a black or a white, an Asian or an American, everyone frequented us. Some of them were drunkards while others were druggists. Some of them were smooth in the way they handled me while most others were too rough. My body bore the marks of thousands of men and it hurt so much that I cried myself to sleep many a time.
There was also a seniority code among the women. Since I had the looks, a lot of men would ask for me over the ladies who had been there for many years. This didn’t go down too well with their lot. And they began subjecting me to physical, verbal and mental torture. It was getting too much to bear.
But then, slowly it dawned upon me that there wasn’t much I could do. There was no one to care. There was no one to ask for my well being. There was no one to bother whether I lived or died. And so I decided to let go. Selling off my dignity seemed the best option. Till date, people had dictated my life. But now it was my turn to live it up on my own terms. And so Rahina became Rahi, the most in – demand ‘girl’ of the city.
It took a while but my rate began going up exponentially. I had turned into some sort of celebrity so much so that people started taking my dates and services through the phone and Internet as well. I was living it up as they say!
In the middle of all this, I met Ryan. He was one among the millions of customers I keep getting day in and day out. But he was different. He was tall and seemed quite educated. Rather than wondering on why he would come to such a place, I sat down so that he could begin.
But he didn’t touch me. Now that was quite weird. I am generally used to men roughing me up and putting me on all fours and doing what they like. But here was a guy who didn’t even bother to hold my hands.
That day I did something which I hadn’t ever done with anyone let alone any customer. I spoke to him.
“You are a weird dude! You must be the first guy who comes to a whorehouse and is shy to even touch the girl.”
“How do you do this? Don’t you feel odd sleeping with so many different kinds of men day in and day out?”
“Hey Mr! You are not paying me for talking with you. Do what you want and get lost.” Why was this guy even here in the first place, I wondered.
“If I say, I just want to talk, then?”
“Simple. Then you can get out and let the next customer come in.” He was wasting my time. And in our line, time is of utmost importance.
“My parents treated me like a piece of shit. My company treated me like dirt. My love life crashed even before it began. And so what did I do? Come to a place like this to just forget everything!” His words reflected the inner turmoil going on in his life.
“Your life is what you make of it. I was at the same crossroads you are, a decade back. And look at me today. I am a star. People die to meet me. I am the sexual fantasy of millions. And I love it that way.”
“You know, I really admire you. At least you love what you do. Look at me. I am just stuck up in life.”
“It’s a matter of your perception. It’s not stuck up in reality. But your thinking is such that it appears that way.”
Once we began speaking, we didn’t stop for hours on end. We spoke about our lives. We spoke about what we wanted from life. We spoke about why we were where we were. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of comfort.
Slowly, but surely we began speaking to each other day in and day out. We also started spending some time together whenever either of us was free. We loved each other’s company and the fact that it kept both of us happy, was a like a cherry on top of a cake.
It seemed as though my life had started to become quite normal. I had someone to talk to; someone whom I could trust; someone who would listen to me without judging me at the outset. From a life which was devoid of emotions to a life where emotions defined my day, things seemed to have come full circle.
Ryan made me feel wanted and special. Like every other girl, even I began to dream of a life with someone who cared the world for me. And so, I also decided to leave my career to keep him happy.
Life seemed too good to be true. There was surely a storm around the corner. The question was; from where it would come..!
As we started living together, I began to realize that this Ryan was different from the Ryan I had met for the first time. He was never at home for most of the day. When he came back at night, he just ate and slept. On many of the days he would come home drunk and abuse me by bringing up my past.
As if this was not all, he would be away from home for days on end. And when he came back, he would never bother to tell me anything. It seemed as though we were complete strangers. We were living under one roof but leading totally different lives. Every time I wanted to speak to him, he would come up with some excuse or the other. And all the things would be left as it is – unsaid!
All that he made me feel before we began living in seemed to have gone away in just a few months. I was not at peace with myself. He behaved as if I was never there in his life. Did he really care for me? I had to know.
And then, one fine day, he suddenly disappeared. He never came back. Instead in his place, the police came.
“Maam, are you Ryan Steelo’s girlfriend?”
“Yes. Where’s he? Is he ok? He’s not come home for the past 3 weeks.” I was really worried for his well being.
“You need to come with us.”
What had he done? Was he ok? Why didn’t he call me? A number of questions were swirling through my head as I made my way into the police station.
Ryan looked really different. He had grown a really long beard and seemed miles apart from the man I had loved.
“Ryan Steelo alias Mohammed Ashir is a dreaded terrorist. He has been implicated in many terror cases and is wanted since the last one year. He started living in with you so that he could pass off as a ‘simple family man’.
He forged the papers to show that both of you were married and continued his dangerous activities side by side.
We have been tracking him since the past couple of months and were finally successful only yesterday.”
I was too shocked to react. It seemed as though my world had come crashing down all around me. I walked up to him and looked into his eyes. They bore
no emotion. There was neither a hint of guilt nor remorse.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Ryan seemed slightly taken aback.
“Why the hell did you do this to me Ryan? Or whatever your name is – Mohammed!”
“I did it for our cause. I did all this for Allah. It will help our brothers and sisters to reach heaven and attain Nirvana.” He was talking like the terrorist he actually was.
“I don’t fucking care about all that. I just want to know that why did you do this to me. Why did you marry me? Why did you promise me things? Why Ryan? Why?” I was totally shattered and devastated.
“I did it for Islam. I did it for our God. You were just a pawn in our game. You’re famous and we knew no one would suspect you. ” He replied as coolly as ever.
“So you never ever loved me?”
“You’re such a filthy bitch. You sleep with hundreds of men every god damn day. You don’t deserve to be loved. I wouldn’t even take you to bed!”
“Oh! So now I get it. So that’s why you never touched me even when I wanted you to. You never wanted to express your love even when I pleaded you to. Obviously, you never loved me at all. Rot in hell, you bastard.” I slapped him and stormed off.
Ryan didn’t really betray me. He just showed me my true value – A thing to be used and thrown!