“Sarah, Hurry Up! Um gethin lare fo d innerview (I am getting late for the interview),” Priya had brilliantly picked up the American accent. After all, she had been living in the City of Irving, Texas since years. Priya was 35 years old now and some 10 years ago, Sameer had flown her to US with umpteen promises of a new and wonderful life. They had a sweet little daughter- Sarah, who was equally beautiful as her mother. Priya was hurriedly doing the household chores and readying up Sarah for the school, and Sameer, 40 years now, was patiently looking at her and admiring her beauty as she moved from one corner of their beautiful home to another.
Sameer loved the way she was. He loved every bit of her…not an inch of flaw! She might have had flaws (everyone had!), but Sameer didn’t see a single blemish either in her personality or her character! She was the most perfect woman and the most beautiful woman he had ever met in his entire life! Looking at her and their sweet little angel, he couldn’t decide who was more gorgeous- Priya or Sarah. “Both are equally astonishing,” he had decided in his heart as he looked at both of them cuddling each other.
“Buhbye Daddy. I love you!” Sarah had shouted as she smashed the door behind her and left for the school. Priya unlocked the latch and entered their home, which they called, “Our Dream Home.” As she picked up the things scattered here and there, Sameer looked at her and thought that age had done its service on her face, but she still looked perfect! He noticed that Priya had got the crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes and that her skin has started loosening, just a bit. Nevertheless, he adored her and was as much in love with her as he was in the first year of their relationship. Infact, Sameer’s love for Priya had become even more profound and his respect for her had reached to the pinnacle. As she was busy in the errands of her home, Sameer’s mind drifted back to the time when he had first seen Priya.
Sameer hadn’t met with Priya at any regular place. They didn’t meet at their school or their college; neither did they meet at a coffee shop or a restaurant. They didn’t even meet at a public transport or any other such place. Instead, he had met Priya at her so-called “workplace,” but it was definitely not a normal workplace.
As Sameer walked down the memory lane, he remembered the feeble smile on her face when he had first seen her. Despite the faint smile on her face, he couldn’t help but notice the deep twinge of sorrow on her face. Alright, Sameer was her “client,” but she was never happy with her profession. She was forcibly dragged by her fate into the profession that was, that is, and that will always remain a taboo, especially in a country like India.
She was a prostitute! Priya was at a very tender age…just 13 years, when her “always-drunk” father and the step-mother had “sold” her at a brothel on the Garstin Bastion Road (popularly called the GB Road) in Delhi, for merely 5000 Rs. Her childhood had remained equally painful. Devastated by the loss of her loving mother at a tender age of 4 years, she often cried for food. Her drunken father did nothing for her, except for the favour of getting her yet another “loving mother,” who did nothing more than beating her all day. Her childhood therefore, was very smashing and excruciating. When the pimp had first come to their begrimed cottage, she had understood that something was wrong and when she tried to run away, she was thrashed, dragged in the dirty car and locked inside, only to be left alone and cry her heart out for help!
When at the age of 13 years, she was first “touched that way,” she had just felt like giving up on her life. Too young to understand what was going on with her, Priya had always squealed thereafter. Whenever the pimp forced a “client” to her room, she always screeched for someone to help her; but was beaten up badly and then forced on the bed! By the age of 16 years, she had just given up on life and fate and had learnt to give in to the demands of her “clients”.
Sameer and Priya were from two opposite walks of life and were poles apart, not just in terms of personalities, but also in terms of the wealth. While Priya’s background was highly impoverished, Sameer, on the other hand, belonged to an extremely lavish family. The only common trait between both of them was that they were both devastated on life and had given up on their respective fates!
Sameer lived in a huge home, which appeared more like a palace, in the extremely posh area of Greater Kailash in South Delhi. Despite being a lad of an extremely affluent father, his childhood too, was devastated. Neither his father, nor his mother had a single-second time for him and as far as his childhood memories were concerned, there were only John Uncle and Mary Aunty who he remembered as his “parents.” He grew up with them, devoid of the love of his real parents, but with amidst an uncountable wealth. Sometimes, Sameer didn’t know how much to spend..he always had a huge amount of money in his pocket! Because, John Uncle and Mary Aunty were from a very traditional family, therefore, Sameer too, learnt their traditions and culture. Unlike other rich lads of his peer, Sameer was always down-to-earth, well-behaved and the most decent boy of his age. And so, most of the “huge amount of money in his pockets,” was “invested” in something that was morally very good…for the society!
Your peer, they say, can either make you or break you. Unfortunately, Sameer’s peer belonged to the latter category, thanks to his parents and their “social parties.” At the age of 27 years, when he had felt a major blow to his heart from a girl that he loved immensely, he was “compelled” by his friends to GB Road.
“Go on, and enjoy! Don’t be a Devdas! What is wealth for?,” they had said. One of his “so-called friends,” had himself dropped him to one of the hundreds of brothels at the GB Road. His friend, Sameer remembered, had said at the brothel, “He is here for the first time. Make sure he gets the best!” And the pimp, after having calculated his personality and the weight of his pocket had “offered” him Priya, who was 22 years old then. The pimp, he remembered, had knocked at the door of a dingy-lit room and said, “Aasia, he is here. Make sure, you do your best!” Priya was named Aasia at the brothel.
It was there that Sameer had first met Priya. He didn’t have a bit of a clue that it was this woman, this “prostitute,” he would fall in love with for the rest of his life and thereafter too.
As he had entered the room, he had seen her sitting at the chair. She had smiled at him at first and then lowered her head, as if she was silently saying that she was tired…very tired of her life….extremely tired of this hell! Sameer, sensing on her cue, sat at a respectable distance from her, but he couldn’t help to notice that she was the “most astonishing woman” he had ever seen in his life. There was some aura, which radiated positivity even at a negative place like that!
All he did that day was…talk to her! That, as Priya says now, was her first heart-to-heart conversation with a man. It was that day, that both Sameer and Priya had shared the desolation of their lives…it was on that day, that Sameer and Priya had first divulged the pains of their lives that they hadn’t spoken to anyone in life. On that day, in just 3 hours time, Sameer had fallen in love with her. He didn’t care that she was poor, he didn’t care that she lived at a brothel, but most of all, he didn’t care a bit that she was a “prostitute.” All he knew was that, Priya was just like any other girl…the girl with the dreams…the girl who wanted a magic to happen….the girl who wanted her “Prince Charming” to take her away from this dirty place…the girl who wanted someone to open her shackles so that she could fly, up in the sky, like a free bird…she was just like any other girl, but with the only difference being that Sameer really loved her and believed that she was the one he wanted to spend his life with!
Priya was deeply touched that day when Sameer had offered to “just talk” to her. He was the first man in 9 years of her “profession” who had demanded nothing, but a conversation and he was also the first man to whom she had revealed her real name- Priya. After talking to him, Priya had felt as if the burden of 22 years was lifted off her. She had never felt so light-hearted in her entire life.
That day, Sameer bid her a goodbye only with a commitment that he would definitely open up the cage for her so that she could fly and live her dreams, with him! As promised, Sameer came next day at the brothel with two briefcases full of money..so much that the pimp hadn’t seen in his entire life! Busy in counting the amount, the pimp allowed, for the first time, to let a prostitute go away with a man.
Priya, for the first time in 9 years, had seen the “good part of Delhi” that day. She didn’t believe that it was for real. Tears of happiness flowed down her eyes and ended at the curve of her lips! Sameer was real, her dream was real, her Prince Charming had come and she was free of the life that she hadn’t wanted in the first place….perhaps, the life that no other girl on the GB Road had wanted in the first place!
Sameer didn’t care a bit about his family or their status. By now, he had started earning his own living, which was extremely good…more than his father! And so, without caring for anyone, he had married Priya with all the customs and traditions, in the presence of Uncle John and Mary Aunty. Sameer remembered that she had looked the most gorgeous girl in her wedding dress and with all the embellishments on her body and he had fallen in love with her, once again! The very next day, he flew to his own bungalow in Irving, Texas in the US, where his company had its corporate office! He took her away from the place because he knew that in the lifetime something would trigger and would hurt their happy married life. He had bought a house and over the time, Priya, a housewife now, had nurtured it into a home…a home of love….and she had named it “Our Dream Home.”
After two years, when Sarah was born to them, she had cried her heart out and promised the little soul that she would give her a life that she always wanted to live! Sameer had kissed them both and cried too!
Today, while sitting at the “Our Dream Home,” when he looked at Priya, he still thought in his mind that she was, she is, and she will always remain his “Queen,” the woman he loved the most..the woman, he thought was the most beautiful one on the planet…the woman he respected the most and also the woman, who had the most pure character of all!