some talks, some emotions, some expressions & some silence

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Thursday, 9 April 2009

From Oscars to Prostitution

"When A R Rahman walked up to receive the golden Oscar statuette, her eyes misted over. Preeti Mukherjee knows exactly how it feels. Four years ago, she was on the same stage at Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre, where she, too, had hugged the statuette and cried tears of joy."

This refers to February, 2009 when A R Rahman walked up the stage to receive the Oscar for Best Original Score in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. But how is the text in quotes relates specifically Preeti Mukherjee to this event? Here is the story which was known by a few till then and still many are unaware.

Preeti Mukherjee used to be an actress or cast in the documentary, "Born Into Brothels". The film was made and shown in 2004. It won 20 international awards. In 2005, Preeti Mukherjee attended the Oscar Award ceremony and went on stage with the director, Zana Briski when the film won an Oscar.Briski gave Mukherjee's mother money and tried persuading her to let Preeti stay in the US. Mukherjee's mother refused to let go of her only child and daughter. In time, Preeti Mukherjee has entered the same sex trade profession as her mother.

She was one of the 9 kids in the movie which brought worldwide awareness about the actual behind the scene story in sex trade. They were all picked up from red-light areas and after the success of the movie all of them were given opportunities to come out of the business and live a normal life. They were even offered funds for their education abroad. But Preeti's mother didn't let go her only daughter. Is this because she considered her to be one more source to add to her incomes? Or were they entangled in a no-other-option situation? As a minor even police rescued her from a sex-racket, but she was again claimed back by her mother. Did she never imagine a better future for her? Did she not realize the second chance also. Why did not she let her go? The answer to this is not easy. We don't know what actually was the situation in their lives at that time that forced her to do so. After all, how can a sane and normal mother could throw her child into a terrible life which she has faced and which she knows very well, is not worth living? And Preeti was a kid then. She hardly knew what was going on or even if she knew she was powerless to do anything. 

Many a times we feel sad for the people who are in this trade. We express our sympathy towards them and the more generous ones even giving them opportunity to return back to a normal  life. We can probably stop them from entering this business after they manage to come out of it but what about their mental state, the society which sees them as a degraded section of the crowd and many other things. They have seen so much evil happening to them when they were forced into this, they have taken so much of pain, they have shed tears night after night, they have always craved for love but nothing and no one could help them. They are now immune to whatever we say about them. They don't give a damn what the society speaks about them. They have understood the weakness of this society very well which is their living. And when you can fall no further, you have to rise. They have earned their living, they have sacrificed their lives, their emotions for this and they will continue to do so. This is just another business! After all, what comes easy in life? They don't seek any kind of sympathy that the society offers them. They are happy, they are enjoying today what life has offered them, what they have bought from their hard earned money. And why won't someone be? Even if we say that they do stuff which is degraded in our eyes and they don't have a normal living, they do think and act like any human being will do if put in a similar situation.

Same is the case with Preeti. She is defiant. She doesn't regret her life. She doesn't blame her mother for pulling her into this trade. She had accepted it long back and it was already a part of their family, something that she had been seeing from childhood. She did not go to good schools and colleges to get a good job but she had perfected the art which she knew would earn her much more than probably a simple job would. She has a flat in Salt Lake, Kolkata. She has all the amenities needed to live a normal life, just like any other human being. People like her are not alone. they also have their own community. One might wonder who would marry such a woman and she won't be able to experience the love and affection of a husband and nurture kids. The truth is there is no concept of such kind of love and affection for them. And about kids, u can call them illegal or legal, even that doesn't matter to them. Their kids probably will give birth to a tiny streak of love in their lives and they would nurture them to the best of their abilities, teach them the art they are expert in and the cycle continues. They simply feel helpless. There is actually no one to help them and no one can actually help them not even they themselves. They are trapped in this vicious circle of hopeless darkness where only light is this hypocrite society. Some are cowards and choose death and the remaining brave ones decide to accept it and live on.

Staying happy is what matters, how you do it, doesn't.

It would take years that a society decides not to use them just as a timely need and even more to stabilize their minds and rehabilitating them. Sounds fairly impossible. You can do this to a few of the many. If you are, you are doing a great job but the root is very deep inside.

8 comments:

ANAGHA said...

Nice post...
"Staying happy is what matters, how you do it, doesn't."
Well said... :D

Ipshita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nithin said...

Very nice write up.. i feel staying happy just physically is one thing but as a social animal, v wud always like it if the others are gud to us. If that means changing the job (which they r not definitely enjoying), then why not!

Dexter Sam said...

hey arnab... first time im seeing ur blog...

nice post. v depressing state of affairs. this is like so many things in life and society.... all i can think of saying is : i don't know.

but u know what... its good to talk about it.... its good that someone atleast gives it a voice... so... gud.. keep writing.. :)

Anand said...

good one !

Goonjan said...

quite touchy...

brilliant Arnab da...

Ipshita said...

It's easy to blame such people for what they do...But I don't think we have the right to...Be it a software engineer who spends half the time enjoying the facilities provided in his office without doing justice to the money getting transferred to his account or a corrupt politician whose pockets are overflowing with cash meant to serve the numerous hungry and poor in the country or a simple government officer who makes a simple citizen go around in circles to get a small job done and empty him of the little hard-earned wage he has...In a country like India where the poor become poorer and the rich become richer,it's not wrong for people like Preeti or her mother to search for happiness in whatever way they deem fit...We aren't doing anything to help them-the politicians,the govt officials, and us,software engineers...So what's the harm if they are helping themselves and surviving in such a society...At least they aren't hypocritic like all the others!

Arjygh said...

Applause!