Sahib, kaisa chahiye?

Sahib, kaisa chahiye?

Sumit Kumar Singh visits a kotha

As soon as I park my motorcycle two men appear from nowhere, asking me the kind I am interested in. Sahib, kaisa  chahiye?

It’s 11 on a cold, foggy Friday night and I am on G B Road, the city’s infamous red-light district just a short hop from the New Delhi railway station.

The two men are pimps, working for the slighter more up-market brothels on that road.

I ask them to come later, but they are persistent, telling me that if I hang around too long at that spot the police will get me.

“Come along with me... will provide you with whatever you want... North Indian, South Indian, foreigners, North-east,” one of them offers. “We  also provide you whatever age you want—15, 16, 25, 35.” Rates I learn start from Rs 250. A pimp puts his hand on my shoulder, almost pushing me towards a dark corridor. I get rid of him with some difficulty.

Somewhat similar scenes are being repeated elsewhere. Whenever a rickshaw stops near one the dilapidated three-storey buildings that characterise this bustling commercial street by the day, two or three men wearing black jackets approach them. The deals are usually made quickly, the customers lead away into dark alleys.

Later, I walk into a kotha, encountering a bunch of pimps and a group of aged women on the stairs who ask me money that I wouldn’t give, and ending up in a hall with a single light bulb. I am told I would have to pay Rs 400. Men and women sit and talk on sofa. I am asked if I would like a drink. 

Five women are called out. They wear blouse and petticoat, and heavy make-up. All eyes are on me as I am supposed to select one. They are smiling, but only to attract my custom and I feel sorry for them. I ask to be let out.  “Why have you come here to waste our time at peak business hour,” the man says.

I scramble down the stairs, done with my brief encounter with G B Road, home to an estimated 4,000 women who service client after client out of their dingy rooms.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)