Memoirs of a bar dancer
My fi rst memories are of my mother. I’d be glued to her. Maybe because I was the only one to inherit her light eyes, unlike my brother and sister. She too was very fond of me. The grace with which she attended to chores like cooking even after a whole day of back- breaking work fascinated me. I’d be happy to run around and gather fi rewood, fetch water or do anything to help.
We are from the Nat community of traditional dancers and entertainers from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. My father’s juggling and mother’s dancing saw us through as we migrated from village to village. My brother assisted him and my younger sister and I rope walked or danced. bite out of unwelcome advances from lecherous clients and constant envious slurs from other girls.
Almost a year passed. My father stopped working. In fact, he had gotten hooked to gaanja. While I brought home the money to run the house, my sister was left alone to manage it. later, my sister returned from Azamgarh in UP where the rickshaw driver had taken her. Her “husband” had abandoned his three- month pregnant wife. I had half a mind to tell her to go away. But the bruises on her once beautiful but now weary face and how vulnerable she looked made me break down and I took her in. insisting on unprotected sex and said he’d pay me less if I insisted on it, I told him to get lost. “Don’t forget you are a prostitute, don’t act so pricey,” he said while going. I called out after him,