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Friday, November 8, 2013

Sonagachi of Calcutta in 1984 - "Courtesans galore, slightly different from "Devdas" calcutta of the 1920's"

OLD SAILORS PROVERB- "Sail the seven seas and taste and admire the exotica of every land.".In 1984 i had travelled by "Geetanjali Express" to join a ship in Calcutta as i was employed in the "Merchant Navy" as a "Marine engineer".This was my first visit to the city and was boarded into the historical "Great Eastern Hotel " at "Old Courthouse street" for a few days before joining the ship at "Kidderpore Port". This hotel had the word "HISTORY" written on every wall as it was built in 1840 much before Mumbai's "Taj Mahal hotel", but sadly, was a monolithic loss making hotel in 1984 gradually de-generating and later sold to Bharat hotel groups in 2006.Akin to the Mumbai Taj Mahal hotel expansion in 1970's, the new hotel will have a new building with the historic 1840 structure remaining unmodified but will be renamed the "Lalit Great Eastern Hotel" .
Recollecting memories of 1984 is my brief narration of a night at Calcutta's most famous red-light locality, "SONAGACHI".Refreshed myself in my hotel room  and after "Touring" the "Great Eastern Hotel" went on a routine "sight-Seeing " exploration of Calcutta city in the main "Chowringhee locality".We were put up in the hotel for 2 days and hence on the next day made a "Excursion" to the infamous "Sonagachi", the reddest of red-light localities and littered with numerous true-life "Devdas" and "Umrao Jaan" Story's" akin to Mumbai's Kamatipura.
Boredom and inquisitiveness forced me into a "Rest house" and there i spent the night with a courtesan who reminded me of "Sinbad the Sailors" adventures of the "sexual kind"!The most memorable feature of this skillful lady was her gleaming set of bad teeth, stained with tobacco juice, a common and tragic habit of courtesans.
The next morning i returned to my hotel, a much experienced man with lesser inhibitions.
Calcutta city holds very fond memories for me as i later returned to this port numerous times spending months on the ship while she discharged or loaded on the "Hooghly River", a beautiful river at night with the "Maji's(Film Amar Prem scenes)" gently plying their small canoes between the ships and Hooghly docks.
SONAGACHI of Calcutta leaves a life-long impression either good or bad to any person visiting it, akin to Mumbai's kamatipura. you either hate it or like it,but, you can never ignore it.

"THE EUNUCHS OF JUHU - A DARK HIDDEN WORLD"

Eunuchs are the most feared and ridiculed marginalized people all over the World and since centuries have been used to guard private harems and the concubines of royalty.
Juhu beach during the early 1980's was a locality which boasted of the best film star addresses as well as some of the best "middle-class Brothels" frequented by decent couples unable to have sex at home in congested housing as well as collegians and single businessmen in lure of the "One Night stand".
Once, sometime in 1982 Sam,Mustafa,Adil, Pinaki and myself went to Juhu on our normal weekend "Freakouts" which consisted of an innocent tour of the beach,a camel or horse ride later strolling aristocratically for a "Pee" into a "5-Star hotel" and then a  "Dabba Snack".
That day we spotted a few beautiful "Girls" giving us the "Green Signal" for interaction which Adil quickly seized by the scruff of the opportunity.
These women spoke in chaste Hindi and we mistook them for "filmi Extra's" on a look out for "out-of-Films" entertainment."Dance-Bars" had not yet made their entry into the "Singles" social scene in Mumbai during the early 1980's and "Slip-Disc" in Colaba now extinct was the plush "Sin Joint", hence 'filmi Extra's" were considered as good as next to the "Real Mcoy or duplicate!".
These women were quickly befriended by our group and after a few snacks at "Sea Princess hotel" were later taken for a "Sex Siesta" in a motel which no longer exists in 2009, a swanky restaurant having replaced it.
After approximately 2 hours the group came out, embarrassed and blushing with their "Girlfriends" giggling.
I never was into "Whoring Episodes" during this period as the thoughts of "Male virginal purity" until marriage and strict middle-class catholic upbringing forbade such sinfull thoughts, let alone indulgence.
Later, the next day Mustafa told me that the so called "Beautiful Girls" were in fact "Eunuchs" and that they were forced to have sex with them.
Till today, that particular day somewhere in 1982 where all of us males got hoodwinked into believing that a bunch of "EUNUCHS" were actually "Beautiful Girls" is as fresh as yesterday.In 2013, the era of Internet and cable television has once more brought the undecipherable World of the elusive Eunuch into the limelight through "Television Plays".I wonder what the "ORIGINAL EUNUCHS" have to say about the "ACTOR EUNUCHS" playing them in "REEL LIFE" and also pocketing a hefty moolah!

The Brothel Manuscripts - Communal harmony , a fact of "Brothel Life"

Name the festival or religion and it was a reason for decorating the brothel,attracting customers and boosting income, most prominent being new year festivities.
Alas, this was till the "Great H.I.V Epidemic" and recent, "Economic apocalypse-2008/09" took its toll on "Sin Streets",impoverishing a majority of the cheap streetwalkers while reducing the flamboyance of the wealthier and more sophisticated "Rest houses".
Shanti Das has spent manny a "New Year" in these "Sin Houses" and happier for the same as he is still very much alive and has not cotracted "A.I.D'S", but, gradually maturing into "Sexual Old age"!
Till date, unlike the infamous actor/servant rape case that was "Hot media news "in 2009  or the bizarre "RAPE FIXING" of womanizer/Journalist Mr Tarun.J.Tejpal in 2013  not a single woman has had any complaint against Shanti. Das for either molestation or "Evil looks" of carnation. Shanti Das has a simple philosophy for sex,quote,"When horny always visit the "Whore Joint" as it will save you needless "skirt chasing" expenses as well as court attendances if involved in a "Failed Marriage" or "Attempted Rape".Now only if India's famed Independent journalist Mr Tarun.Tejpal had to obey Shanti.Das's "SEX RULE BOOK" then he wouldn't have blotted his career with a stupid joker case of "ATTEMPTED RAPE IN A LIFT  How much horny can a man get than trying to rape a woman in a lift ? Shame on you Mr Tarun.J.Tejpal.Read his biography to understand his importance in the journalistic World.Worse, he is a married man with children  and not some lonely , horny bachelor! HA HA HA HEE HEE HEE !Link on Journalist Tarun.J.Tejpal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarun_Tejpal .If only all would- be rapists and women molesters heeded Shanti Das's advice ,then, the World would be a pleasant and safer place for women.In the World of "SEX" Mr Shati.Das remains my hero, a very practical man of the unspoken pleasures of humans.The service performed by "Whores" in maintaining law and order in society has been very much underestimated and tragically, the oldest profession on planet earth will exist until "Men" exist !

PHOTO:- KAMATHIPURA LOCALITY WITH THE FAMOUS "Behram BEER RESTAURANT" as seen on New Years Eve.(Monday 31-12-2012).
Touche! Topi!

"Sakina Biao and Shanti Das" :-

Sakina Biao was one of the fairest and most beautiful woman in "Taklya Gully",a typical pathani kashmiri, tragically a common whore in one of the "Numbered Joints" in "Pathli Gully" of Shukhlaji Street.
Her origins were Kashmiri, hence the "Albino white fairness", besides, a good host and Shanti Das's proud conquest, although a "Purchased prize" and not one conquered by love.
I used to always wonder as to the reasons of beautiful women like Sakina Biao winding up in cheap brothels of Mumbai for a career that barely lasts a few years and when most of the times, "Retirement" means either "H.I.V +ve" or replacement by younger women.
Sakina Biao's reasons for being in the brothel was political reasons as she confessed that she was happier seducing male clients rather than living under curfews and gambaling with death in Kashmir.
Myself and Shanti Das have enough genuine sleaze sources material that can make Gregory Roberts "Shantaram" seem a fairytale and hence thanks to the "Internet" and "Blogging" at least some anecdotes can be retold for posterity.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Brothels of Mumbai.



Bombay, now Mumbai has undergone a earth-shattering social and physical transformation after the closure of the "Cotton Textile mills" and redevelopment of these properties into palatial malls and recreation centers. Kamathipura,the "Eye-sore" of middle-class Mumbaikar morality is also undergoing a sea-change in the 21st century,a frog leap into the "Global village economy".The awareness of "H.I.V" in the 1980's and death due to "A.I.D'S", has made low-life prostitutes realize the hazards of their profession, a short painful life of endless torture and discrimination once "Sexually Unemployed" or "H.I.V Infected", whichever is earliest!The prostitutes of Kamathipura do not have "Political Patronage" and are not "Registered Voters" of their locality unlike "Slum Dwellers" who have populated Mumbai and are the "King-Makers" of manny local electoral, besides being the subject of Oscar winning film, "Slum dog Millionaire", a hard hitting reality film of slum lifestyle and ethics. The "Economic Apocalypse-2008/09" sounded the final death gong to the infamous red-light district of Kamathipura , main source of business commodity,"MEN", are avoiding visits to prostitutes due to the "A.I.D'S SCARE" as well as "Economic Insolvencies" since manny clients are from the lower economic strata of society.The wealthy and educated usually patronize "Beer dance bars" now banned , or "Call-Girls" available through the "Internet" and "Cell Phone" services. To the patrons of "Prostitution" , the word "Kamathipura" was akin to "Slumdog Millionaire", an embarrassment to average Indian society, to be hidden from World exposure.For the educated and wealthy,"Yuppie","Puppy" or "Sethia", being seen in "Kamathipura" would be "Professional Suicide", the Indian Dharavi of prostitution.Beginning since 2007, a lot of "Middle-class skyscraper buildings" have come up in the adjacent vicinity of "Kamathipura" ,right next to the ancient infamous historical "VILLA TYPE" brothels with colourful names like "Nos 25","Nos 007", "Hotel G-9" and "Colaba Queens". The next great "Mumbai Redevelopment" scheme after the "Mills land re-development" of the 1990's could be in the "RED-LIGHT DISTRICT" of "KAMATHIPURA" as it is located in prime real estate territory of Mumbai,one of the World's costliest city's.Imagine the cost of "Villa Brothel-No 25", an entire 2-storey building with an attic according to present "Real Estate" prices of 2011 in neighbouring skyscrapers of Kamathipura? Street Economics proves that "LOW-LIFE PROSTITUTION" is no more a profitable business in Mumbai unlike its modern counterpart, the sophisticated "CALL-GIRLS" in the "Internet and cell phone era" of "Globalization". Some of these "VILLA BROTHELS" are a real "Tourist Secret",peculiar only to Mumbai and Calcutta and known to "Customers",having lavish interior's in crumbling edifices and sad or colourful history's of its occupants,"The Kamathipura Nymphs".Communal harmony in brothels of Kamathipura are a real advertisement in secularism where women, pimps and bouncers ,all belonging to different religions or castes live and work together, their only problem being "Police bribes" and attracting a "Customer base".Religious icons and pictures of every community is displayed in most Brothels, especially at the entrance and the "Customer waiting Rooms" giving some of these places an eerie guilt complex syndrome." Joint 25" as it was known during the 1980/90's is one of the oldest "Villa Brothels" situated in prime Kamathipura locality on the main road. Prior to its repairs a the villa resembled a "Ghost Film set", with huge crumbling rooms supported on bamboo stilts and the wooden staircases waiting to crumble before its internal reconstruction and refitting was undertaken in 2004/05 under a new "Brothel Management".The infamous "PALANG THOD(BREAKING THE BED)" sexual act was copyrighted in these brothels,akin to the "Kamasutra" visuals, proving that a person also learnt the art of love-making in these "Pleasure houses of Sex". Joint N0 25" was the leisure "palace" and a place where all the "POSITIONS" of the famous "Kamasutra" could be practiced without inhibitions, the only stress being a chance of getting the death sentence,"H.I.V +ve" or dying of a "sex heart- attack".A famous " Marathi Rap Song", long before "English Rap music" was invented in Londons streets originated from the "Byculla Boys" of the 1970's era, becoming a "Kamathipura Signature tune advertisement" .Hilarious and absolutely satirical.The " Marathi Rap words" were as follows ,quote, "Sallu Re Sallu Thujya ---- Madhe gallu,Chorus! Sallu Re Sallu Thujya--- Madhe Gallu! Sallu Gela Dilli Pakkad Majya ----. Aree Sallu Gela Dilli Pakkad Majya ---.Chorus! Sallu Re Sallu Tujya ---Madhe Gallu ."BLANKS" in the songs words are for the readers imagination of "Pornographic Poetry". Translation of the words and tune into "English Language" would make this lyrical brothel signature tune absolutely punch-less and stale.As in life, long after the dust is settled and memories linger, a few of the names of the courtesans of "Joint No 25" remain etched in human memory.
Entrance ""JOINT No 25" as seen  at night on Monday(31-12-2012). Last of the few  majestic brothels in Kamatipura.

Christina,Suzy,Dolly.Margaret and Rekha were the most famous "courtesans" of their generation servicing customers in the 1980's and 1990's up-to the early 2000's.Christina later graduated onto becoming the "Madame" of "Nos 25" after the abdication of previous "Madame" Sheila.

Unlike other brothels, the beauty of " Joint Nos 25" was that its courtesans had no inhibitions of performing any sexual act as long as they were paid the money and treated honorably as a "Courtesan lady" and not some common "Caged whore" or "Street walker" which comprise the maximum of Kamatipura's sex workers.
My friend Shantidas was a regular visitor to brothel "Nos 25"  which was operated by a Jewish lady named Sheela in the 1970's and 80's and later a christian lady Christina.A final  change in ownership in 2001 ,redeveloped this seedy bungalow type brothel into plush air-conditioned brothel cubicles.
Shanti Das had spent numerous nights with different prostitutes from the 1980's upto the present management in 2009 and his depiction of the horror in one room was mind-boggling, definitely not exaggeration to me as we both grew up together and understood when the other delivered "White Lies".
"Joint N0 25" is a legacy of the "British era", built during a period when "Kamatipura" and especially "Joint N0 25" were absolutely high-class leisure rooms for British soldiers and the wealthy, not the typical "H.I.V Infected area" that it has now degenerated in the 21st century.
Shanti Das, once thought that he was making love to the local prostitute whom he hired for the night at Rs 1000 and was thrilled at the ecstasy only to later discover that the actual woman he hired was changing herself and adding perfumes in the adjacent room.
Who was the woman he actually slept with?
Being a well-known face and a regular customer,he made queries but none of the girls fitted his description of the seductress who just vanished into thin air!
Did the brothel management pull a fast joke on Shanti Das?
Definitely no, they stood to gain nothing, just bad publicity in case the news spread that "JOINT N0 25" was haunted and "brothels", even the worst, are always courteous and entertaining to their customers, only priority being money and nothing else.
Would you love to make love in a "HAUNTED HOUSE", even if only in a temporary "BROTHEL ROOM".
Truth is stranger than fiction.
If "Topaz Bar" of Grant road was the ultimate in South Mumbai "Beer Dance Bars"  before its closure in 2005 then "Joint Nos 25" could be considered the "Arabian Nights Fantasy" of Mumbai !
Whipping and chain bondage was the ultimate of some freak customers who preferred atoning for their sexual indulgences by self-inflicted sexual extremes.
Suzy was famous for her "Sado-masochistic" sessions which consisted of "Horse-whipping" followed by anal sex and fellatio, whichever the customer preferred.
Dolly and Rekha were the ultimate seductresses, the means of attaining sexual nirvana ,although at a price.
The other peculiar trait about " Joint Nos 25" was that this was a "English speaking Brothel" and hence had a more educated clientele besides also being selective in accepting customers.
Legalized Pornographic tycoon Hugh.Hefner could have learnt some "Sexual circuses" from "Joint No 25" of the 1980's and 1990's era, before advent of the "Internet" and "Escort whoring" killed "Courtesan business".
Busy Shukhlaji Street , one of the most densely populated localities of Mumbai.Formerly,BROTHEL BUILDINGS  lined both sides of the street. In 2012 , just a few "Brothel Buildings" are intact,including the iconic "BROTHEL NOS 25".Visit this street before it completely disappears from Mumbai's topography as a former "WHOREHOUSE LOCALITY OF MUMBAI".

These "Brothel Villa's" could even qualify for "Heritage Buildings" category as they are steeped in "Brothel History" and "Underworld secrets or gossips" , a la "Umrao Jaan or Devdas saga's",beginning with the Britishers that created "Kamathipura".Tragically, unlike "Patpong" in Bangkok or the "Reeperbahn of St Pauli" in Hamburg the tourism potential of Kamathipura was never exploited although many movie ideas and literary writings have been based on this sin locality of Mumbai.A Big myth is that only "Bachelors" and "Sex Perverts" patronize these brothels , while the authentic truth is that most of the patrons are "Married Men" experimenting on "Sexual Acts" or "Sexual innovations" which their wives do not allow at home! A typical "Villa Brothel" like the infamous " Joint 25" dates back to the pre-Independence era and consisted of 2 to 3 storeys with huge crumbling rooms for servicing clients, filthy toilets and bathrooms and all the women lived in a "Hostel type atmosphere" with the "Madam" having her own private "Room".The "Madam" runs the "Brothel" on a "Rental Basis" paying a monthly rent to the building owner, usually a wealthy, pious,non-criminal "Dormant Partner", the ultimate "White Collar shady entrepreneur".In 2004 ," Joint 25" changed ownership and renovated itself into an "Air-conditioned" guest-house while " Joint N0 007" a brothel run by a Nepali Madam has closed and also been repurchased and run as a "guest-house", a case of "Brothel modernization", a necessary social evil of society.Paradoxically, brothels are the only few "vice Industry's" where women manage the economics and management , employing men as pimps and bouncers and exploiting their own fellow women workers professionally, a type of "Socialism" that would make Karl Marx think."Joint N0 007" during ownership of the "Nepali Madam" was famous as a "Sea-Farer's paradise", mostly frequented by sailors and well decorated during the "New Year Festival". Brothel  "Joint 007" consisted of a two storey building, absolutely deceptive from the exterior, with cubicle rooms on the first floor for servicing "clients".
The By-lanes of Kamatipura with its former "Chawl-Type Brothels" has undergone tremendous changes. In Future these lanes might totally disappear, replaced by "Skyscraper buildings" as this locality is situated in Prime Mumbai city.See these localities before they totally disappear to re-development.Literature like mine might be the only reminders of this colourful and yet sad locality of Mumbai.
                                                                                                                                                  The infamous "Red-Light 007" bulb hung from the exterior window of the first floor facing the street , an advertisement to potential clients, definitely not for "James Bond 007 fans".Brothel, "Joint N0 007" were one of the pioneers of the "Red-Light" Industry that was and still is "KAMATIPURA", although the ownerships have changed hands.

Director Anurag Kashyap has stolen a scene from "Shanti Das' in "Devdas- original" :-The last scene in which a totally sozzled , sick and dejected 21st century Devdas takes a high-class educated prostitute on the backseat of his motorcycle and disappears to the audiences imagination is a straight lift from my infamous friend "SHATI DAS'S Life".

Sometime in 2002 the rich spoiled brat Shanti Das had taken a fancy to a beautiful illiterate whore from the infamous Nepali "Joint No 007" at Shukhlaji Street and manny a night was spent in her room. Shanti Das had and still owns a Royal Enfield motorcycle which he used for cruising the streets of Mumbai, high on "Hash" to avoid "Drunken driving", a real genius at hoodwinking!
Manny a times he took Kumari, his new found Nepali whore to the Taj Mahal hotel of all places for a drink at the "Starboard Lounge" or dinner at the Shamiana! Kumari, when well dressed and roaming in the right circles and not "Kamatipura locality" could pass off as a rich sophisticated woman on sheer looks and unless spoken to, even her illiteracy could be disguised by her sheer beauty.
Cafe Mondegar and the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba were the regular haunts of the couple Shanti Das and Kumari until one fine day the petite kumari suddenly disappeared from the "Joint Nos 007" and later the brothelUltimately,infamous Alexandra Theater's English to Hindi translated film titles, and photographs might be the only memories of "Kamathipura" once it undergoes the "Builders scalpels" of redevelopment.Sadly "Alexandra Theatre" has been demolished and a partial historical  edifice of the locality has vanished. On 31st December 2009 Shanti.Das on his "New Year Eve jaunts" and a good friend of mine told me a joke that a "Pimp" of "Hotel G-9" told him,quote,"Sir, the prostitutes are becoming "Unemployed" and instead "Factory's are being opened in Kamatipura locality". A absolute paradox of a locality once called "THE SEX CAPITAL OF ASIA". This "JOKE" sounds better when quoted in "Original Hindi language" rather than translated into English .The very fact that the inventor of "LEGALIZED SEX ENTERTAINMENT" to the World, the "Grand Daddy" of them all, Mr Hugh.Hefner was contemplating selling his 56 year old "Intellectual Pornographic Empire" in 2009 for 200 million pounds speaks volumes of the "INTERNETIZATION OF PORNOGRAPHY". Agreed, at age 83(2009) Mr Hugh.Hefner cannot prolong his sexual erections nor the "Playboy" monopoly of the billion dollar "Sex Industry".As a shrewd businessman he has realized that "Internet sex websites" are creating havoc with "Playboy" subscriptions and sales, making the magazine seem like "High school sex education" in the "Adult Sex Information Era".Ultimately, Hugh.Hefner has avoided selling "PLAYBOY" but has adapted to the "INTERNET ERA" by making "Playboy" available for on-line subscription as well as free for casual browsing, akin to newspapers.In Bombay of the 1970's, access to a outdated "Playboy" magazine was sold at a premium to an elite clientele. In 2009 any Mumbaikar can access "Hardcore Pornography" from the "Internet" with "Playboy" being a mere "side-show", that too, in a Country where "Sex Magazines" are officially banned. A new "Digital Sexual Revolution" first started and pioneered in the print media in 1953 by Mr Hugh.Hefner himself has become a "Frankenstein Monster" in the "Internet Era" to legalized sex publishing Moguls. Ultimately,inventions and innovations transforms lives as well as businesses including the "SEX INDUSTRY" and "Playboy" is undergoing the same.Years after publishing this blog i happened to read the best-seller novel, "SEX AND THE CITY" written by Candace.Bushnell in 1997, a book about the "Sexcapades" and "Sexual circuses" of New Yorks elite celebrity news-makers very much on the lines of India's own famous erotic bestseller writer Shoba.De. Honestly, the "Low life Villa Brothels of Kamathipura" of the 1980's , 1990's and early 2000's were an exact replica of "Sex and the City" in its peculiar private  "Sex Circuses".The famous and infamous "Dance Bars" of Mumbai were forced to close down in 2005 and many of these bar dance girls committed suicide or became prostitutes as they were unfit for any other profession besides "Bar Dancing".The Supreme Court of India later re-instated the "Dance Bars" in 2013  and hence many  former dance bar girls might find employment in the bars once they are re-opened. Its a sad  fact of life that prostitution and women dance bars exploit women for sexual purposes. In Prostitution women barter their bodies  for  physical paid sex while in the  case of "Dance Bars"  its the joy of   men oogling at dancing women.A fact that can't be ignored is that many women legally earn their income through prostitution or "Bar dancing" in Mumbai, having not been forced into the profession. This proves the fact that "SEX" is the only human activity that is universal in performance and personal satisfaction, irrespective of caste, creed, sex,nationality or wealth.Touche! Topi! By :- Blogger Rudolph.A.Furtado