Every Saturday evening I used to go to Lord hanumans temple (before covid) . Adjacent to the temple, about 100 meters afar, there is this red light area.
The reason most of the red light areas are near hanuman temple is the conservative thinking that women will not visit Hanuman temple(as he is a Brahmachari), and so these sex workers can easily ply their trades without causing discomfort to other ladies.
Whenever I saw these sex workers, I felt pity. We as a society talk a lot about women empowerment but there are very few organizations/NGOs who have really worked to bring this sex workers out of this rut. This poetry is a comparison between the IDOL and the Prostitute. It is in no way a disrespect to our belief and faith in Lord hanuman. It is only to show the ways of the society which on one hand prays to god selfishly and on the other hand conveniently chooses to ignore the pain that a sex worker endures. I find her actions to be that of a LIVING GOD.
The Living God.
The sky which is lit with a thousand stars, the moon shining alone in all its glory,
Throngs of people making their way to catch a glimpse; for some it is faith; for some to tell a hoary story.
The narrow lanes which is a landmark,
It is a mute witness to the different paths that people embark.
The bell chimes, air filled with the fragrance of the incense sticks, the oil lamps inviting the pious souls,
The music blares, the air filled with cheap perfume, the inviting bodies ready to display their wares.
They stand in front of the lord like beggars, asking him to fulfill their wishes;
Her head held high, like a goddess, she wields the power to fulfill his desires.
His fiery eyes welcome you, making you feel awe in his presence,
Her mischievous eyes, which has practiced how to tease, beckons you, making you approach with ease.
He is adorned with all the saffron and bright clothes,
She is out in her best, the lipstick red & the mascara which glows.
The humble offerings are true from the heart,
The haggling for the price, she has mastered this art.
You close your eyes and feel the warmth of a hundred lamps,
You cannot take off your eyes from her; the body lit on fire waiting to be doused.
The purity of the sanctum; a place to worship,
The small dingy room, she is a goddess for her devotees.
The encircling of the idol, a ritual to follow,
She stands on the street in the company of merry men, seeing their world go round.
He is a silent spectator, wondering why people take him for a ride;
She takes it all in her stride, with a determined pride.
You touch his lotus feet, and pray that you be blessed,
You lie at her feet like a slave, tired and compressed.
The forty verses sing about his glory,
The loud music sets the mood, a drama unfolds in a routine story.
The very hands which carved the stone,
Are the very hands which led her to the deep dark hole.
He does not have to sweat, nor shed blood or tears,
The eyes have dried, the smile is a fake, a life castaway in the shadows of fear.
He will stand tall for centuries to come,
Her life lived only once but the pangs felt like a thousand years.
Such is the way of the world, he is prayed like a god,
She is the curse, destined to be a naught, but for her every act, she is a living god.