Monday, April 20, 2009

Sex as solutions to life's problems

Poor housewives become sex workers to keep the family afloat, while rich housewives pay men because they miss regular sex

By Shevlin Sebastian

“Oh no you have come at the wrong time,” says Lata, 39, as she stared at Anita and I. “My husband has just come from Muscat. You will have to go now. Till he is here all activities are off.”

So Anita and I step out of her house at Edapally, a suburb of Kochi, and as we walk towards the bus stop, she tells me Lata’s story. “I met her because my in-laws live nearby,” says Anita.

Lata’s husband, Mani, works as an electrician. He comes home once a year for a month. A few years ago, Mani had bought a house on loan. But his income was not enough to pay off the debts.

“Lata is also a healthy woman with strong sexual desires,” says Anita. “Having sex once a year is not enough.” So Lata decided to become a sex worker for two reasons: to pay off the debts and to satisfy her sexual urges. And for this she took Anita’s help.

“I would go to her house in the morning, when Lata met her clients,” says Anita. “My job was to look after Lata’s five-year-old son Appu. If the milkman, postman or relatives came, I would say Lata is not at home.”

For her labours Anita was paid Rs 200 a day. “Lata told me she earned about Rs 500 a day,” says Anita. “I suspect she got more, but I was happy with what I got.” This partnership continued for a few years, till a cigarette shop opened near Lata’s house. “Men started hanging around near the shop and it became risky,” says Anita.

With the help of another friend Lata has developed a rich clientele, and meets them mostly at Kochi’s five-star hotels. “She always takes Appu along, to give a sense of respectability,” says Anita.

One smitten business magnate would hire two rooms. In one room Appu would watch TV or read a book, while an associate of the businessman kept an eye on the boy. Lata would be paid Rs 2000 for her efforts. “As you saw she is beautiful and sexy,” says Anita. “So she is always paid high rates.”

Anita does not get as much, even though at 48, she has maintained a voluptuous figure: big breasts and narrow hips. “I have two sons who are useless,” she says. “One is a drug addict and the other is chronically unwell. They are unemployed even though they are married and have families. So I have to earn money to look after them.”

Anita was married at 15 when her husband was 20. Unfortunately, her husband was an alcoholic and whatever he earned as a house painter was spent on drink. So she had no option but to work as a maid. Once she was employed at a businessman, Prakash Menon’s house.

As expected, Prakash pounced on her when his wife went out for shopping. “I shouted and screamed and told him not to touch me,” she says. The other maid in the house, Mini, advised Anita to have sex. “I said I am not interested,” says Anita. “Mini replied, ‘He will give you Rs 500 and that is a lot of money.’”

Anita had a re-think over several weeks and finally decided to go ahead. “After the first time, Prakash gave me a gold necklace and Rs 500,” she says. “I felt very sad I had betrayed my husband. This feeling remained with me for a long time although I continued sleeping with Prakash, who gave me Rs 500 each time.”

She was terrified that if her husband discovered the Rs 500, he would get suspicious. So she deposited the money with local shopkeepers and took small amounts of goods against it. Later, through a chance acquaintance with a sex worker, she became a full-time professional.

Today, twenty years later, she is a widow whose husband passed away a few years ago. And she has become a veteran in the trade. So how do clients behave in the intimacy of a room?

“Most of the men are sweet-natured and behave well,” she says. “But there are some who are cruel. They bite on the nipples and pinch my body. On many occasions clients insist on anal sex and that is very painful.”

When Anita says no, frenzied clients offer to pay Rs 1000 or Rs 2000. “During those times I would yearn to leave this profession,” she says. “I would have been happier sitting at home, cooking or watching TV, instead of interacting with these terrible men. I am only doing this, because there is no money in the house.”

Ironically, there are women who have plenty of money but they crave for sex. She talks about Deepa whose husband works in Dubai. “She has everything, except regular sex.”

So, one day, she made signs through the window at her married neighbour, Rajan, and they met up and began having regular sex. “After every session she would pay him handsomely,” says Anita. “Eventually Rajan’s wife came to know and she raised a ruckus, but he has not stopped.”

Sometimes, things can backfire. “I know of a woman, Tessy, who lives near my house whose husband is in Jeddah,” she says. One day, feeling frustrated, Tessy pushed something inside her and it broke.

“She found it difficult to breathe and was rushed to hospital,” says Anita. “Anyway, the doctors took it out and for several weeks Tessy was ashamed to go out because everybody knew what she had done.”

Anita shakes her head, smiles, and says, “Sir, it is a very complicated world!”

(Names have been changed)

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