As an auto-rickshaw stopped to my waving signal near a posh Juhu hotel memories of an evening during the time I was interning with TV Today Network flashed back on my mind. Funny when I think about it now, but nothing less than scary when it occurred.
It was a late evening of November 2006. I had gone to VT station for some work and taking geographical calculations into consideration I decided to walk right from there assuming the road would lead me towards Churchgate station. I knew it would not be too far a distance considering it didn’t take my much to reach VT from Churchgate by taxi. Being a student you are expected to save that much of money…
As I walked I crossed from the more crowded roads bordered by great architectural example towards darker and silent alleys. Just to get to the quieter lanes I took a couple of turns and in one of the alleys I saw a group of ladies standing and talking to each other. Though the distance was around 30 meters I could see one of them was actually pretty while the others looked not the types I would give a second look. The street behind quiet and just a lone tea vendor present these women took notice of me too and there was a sort of movement. When I reached nearer one of them stepped out and came towards me and asked, “Chalega kya? Rs 400 only”. I was dumbstruck and froze. At first because I could not comprehend what she meant and then because I could not believe that pretty woman was actually into such business. Unknowingly I fixed my gaze on her. And this probably gave them some idea. The woman who had asked me in first place signaled her to come nearer and then asked me, “Yeh chahiye? Fatafat bol. Time waste mat kar. Tujhe yeh pasand hai na (Want her? Decided fast and don’t waste time. You like her right?). I managed to mutter that I didn’t need anything and scrammed off only to hear some abuses and expletives. You really can’t blame me. I was shy guy who had never encountered such aspects of life. But I guess this is how Mumbai brings you face to face with life and it’s faces. I can say that to you after three and half years in Mumbai and travelling in local trains often!
Coming back to the present I am not more the same naïve guy. At least I like to believe so. And I am sure I am right. I am usually the smart guy [wink]. Yes.. so where was I… I waived auto-rickshaw stopped. I looked into the rickshaw and found three girls sitting inside and three pairs of questioning eyes. Pretty eyes, pretty girls… all decked up. I thought they stopped because they thought I wanted to ask some direction. I politely apologized and asked them to go.
Right after that another rickshaw stopped. And this time there were two girls, similarly decked up. I was puzzled. I looked at the driver and he asked me what I needed. I replied I need to go to Oshiwara to which he snapped, “Toh koi auto pakar na. kyu time waste karta hai (then catch some auto why are you wasting out time)”.
Failing to understand what was going wrong I waved my hand and one more auto stopped. Once again there were three girls, ample cleavage bursting out their clothes and protruding them further by the way they sat... one of the girls asked me “Chalta hai kya? Rs 500 including hotel charges. Hum teeno mein se koi bhi…” (You coming? Rs 500 including hotel charges and you can choose anyone from three of us). I was stumped. For a small town middle class guy these girls looked from decent families – girls who were out to have fun clubbing at night. But it sank it that they were obviously not what I thought they were. I was dealing with professionals. And the two rickshaws that halted before this were also similar case studies! I found myself without a voice similar to the time when I was caught by the group of women at that dark alley near VT station some years back. I just signaled them a no.
Three more such rickshaws stopped – all filled with decked up girls – before I got an empty rickshaw. Still dazed and heart jumping with excitement I boarded the rickshaw and told the driver about what just happened to me. He laughed and told me that those drivers are pimps and get commissions. There as a whole business model and way of taking product right to the customers! I called my mom to share the experience and she thanked god I had the sense not to spend that Rs 500. But then there are so many who probably wait to spend Rs 500 in such ways. Loveless…
I guess I enjoy the pain that comes along with love rather than opting for such safe routes of pleasure!