She was a middle-aged woman who was my neighbor for few years before I did my graduation. The only thing I know about her was that she sings beautifully. Other than that if you have asked me about my strange neighbor I wouldn’t have been able to tell you much.
I still remember the day she took the house near to mine. It was the hottest day of the year, with most of us sleeping in the afternoon. Just then a taxi came and out came this lady who was not beautiful to look at but she walked with the grace of an elephant.
Her hair was always tied up, she was dangerously clean. Every move of her made me want to talk to her. She never saw me I know. But one fine morning she came to my house and asked for me. Then I came to know that she had seen me and even knew my name. With a lot of excitement, I went to her house, and as expected her house was the cleanliest house in our locality. No wonder she was not favorable with the ladies there. Very graciously she asked me if I could help her to stop some leakage in her bathroom I was more than ready to help her. As a teenage boy, I think my mind and my body was going by the speed of the fastest bullet train.
Somehow I fixed the problems and as I was leaving the house, she thanked me. Her voice was so soft that I was mesmerized and asked her if she could sing for me.
With a smile, she took me to her music room and sat with a Veena and sang the most melodious song I have ever heard. I was lost. She had captivated me with her simplicity. I know what I was thinking was wrong and not proper. I started to feel something for this lady. I just wanted to be her friend, but I soon found that she was not interested and she saw me just like another any other young boy of the locality.
Even though my feeling for her remained for her the same, I decided that I have to move on. She too left the locality. I found a true friend and love in my college itself. We both decided to get married after we get a job. Luckily after graduation, I was selected as a trainee to a reputed company and started my new phase of life with my dreams and aspirations. My soul mate was also with me so I felt satisfied and we both shifted to a new city. But whenever I used to hear melodies I remember my strange neighbor and a small smile used to decorate my feature.
It was almost more than five years since I had seen her. Too busy with a new job, wife, and responsibilities I was slowly settling down in the new atmosphere.
But to my greatest surprise, I bumped into my strange neighbor from my past, at the most unexpected place I could ever imagine. I saw her at a party hosted by my wife’s company and not as just a singer but as an escort lady. She had become famous in the rich men circle where she used to grace the place with her melodious sound and style.
I was taken back with the changes in her. She was a sight of sophistication, beautiful, poised, smart, looking much younger. But her transformation made me curious and ashamed of her for choosing this profession.
To my amazement, she too didn’t show me any recognizing signs. But the next day when I entered my cabin I got a bouquet of flowers with a message written, ‘Meet me at the same hostel as yesterday at 1.’ I knew the letter was from her. I wanted to meet her but I knew that she was not the same person whom I had met some years back and I was not the same teenage boy. But I wanted some answers from the new person she had become.
Her hotel room was her domain she had transformed it into her own style. The first thing she told me as I entered her room, “Please, Don’t judge me.” I remained silent I just asked her why she chose this work? Her simple answer was ‘Money’. Her version of the story was her husband had left her for another woman and she had to take care of her mother who was a cancer patient. She tried many jobs as a music teacher, typist and many more but the money was never enough for the treatment. At last, she was asked to join this company where she made enough money to save her mother and remain alive.
Her story was true or not I don’t know but I believe her. No woman wants to enter this business but circumstances force them. As I came out of her room I felt ashamed of my old views about women who were sex workers. No women are born like that; they are forced into this kind of work, where they have to sell their body to take care of some loved one somewhere. They are the actual image of this developing society. Until and unless every girl is free and not forced to do work which kills their self-esteem and respect? I think we should not call ourselves free and developed.