The little girl was thrown into the last room at the end of the velvety floored corridor. The girl struggled in the darkness for a few moments, as she moved her hands frantically to find something to support herself. She could make out a bed in front of her, a faint snoring from it’s direction told her that it was occupied. She found a wall at a corner, and she crawled to it. She liked Walls. Walls would have stopped her from getting a deep scar on her left cheek, which according to her madam, made her extremely desirable. The girl however hated to look at that. It was after all the only gift her father had ever given her. Her father was a fiend and a compulsive drunkard. He had one night, walked beyond the curtain and into her part of the hut. And from the next morning she had a more visible evidence on her to show.
She could have her own part of the hut, now that she was no longer a child. Once a month, she could stay there, undisturbed by anything beyond the curtain, with her books and her doll. Her Pinni ( aunt) would sincerely visit her on those three days, bringing her food, washed clothes, and sometimes with hope of taking her away. Those three days were the only reprieve she had. Unfortunately for her though, her father was drunk, every single day.
And a couple of sarees stitched into a make do curtain wouldn’t be enough to stop him, when he came back. Her Pinni knew everything. But all she could do and in turn teach the girl, was to pray. Close your eyes and Pray, and all the pain would go away, she would assure her. Until one day she just stopped coming.
” How old are you ?” The woman asked her leaning over the creaking old teak-wood bed, looking curiously at the little girl, who sat trembling at the corner. The lights at this time of the day, were always supposed to be dimly lit. The sins of men committed there in, could do without any vivid memories. The girl would learn eventually, the woman thought to herself. But first she needed to cry, to wash away all that she held true until that point.
” How old are you? You are not…. Listen to me, Have you bled?” The woman snapped at her. The girl looked up at the woman but chose to ignore her. The girl wouldn’t cry, the searing pain in her heart was something that she had to treasure. She would hold on to it, because in that buried somewhere were memories of her home. Of times when she would play with her cousin Lakshmi with the brown haired doll or even fight for it. Hope would therefore be needed, to keep them alive.
The woman looked impatiently at the girl. She sat up on the bed, adjusted her saree, and tied her plait into a proper bun. Her lovers would come soon, and she had to bring this issue to a close before that.
” Do you sleep alone or with someone?” The woman asked the girl. The girl heard something, that sent down a chill down down her spine. She couldn’t be mute any longer. Tears started to roll down her tender cheeks. She gave in. She cried violently till her eyes went red. Her tears flowed down and burnt her face, deepening her scar. She shook her head as if to defy the sadness engulfing her.
” Put your hand between your legs! That is where it’s going to start ” the woman ranted . The girl sat cross legged on the floor. She struggled with herself, she fought with herself. And yet she did what was asked of her. She felt blood on her hands and jolted back.
The door opened and white light gushed in. A tall grumpy grey haired man entered the room. The woman instantly, as was her routine, got up and tiptoed towards him. He took her hand in his, passing on a bundle of currency notes. They felt heavier than the last time. An hour longer is what that implied. She pulled him on to the bed. As he started undressing her, his hand reaching out to her thighs, and his lips kissing the one feature that always aroused him. A deep scar on her left cheek.