“Dolled up in glitzy clothes, with layers of make-up and hurling loud abuses — such perceptions of sex workers need to change,” said Omkar Khandekar, a mass media student at Wilson College, who wrote ‘A Bedtime Story’ in the book, ‘Not Like Most Young Girls’.
The book, which comprises a collection of short stories written on the life of sex workers, was launched in the city on Wednesday. Compiled by Aastha Parivaar, a federation of sex workers, the book includes 18 stories written by college students as part of a competition organised by the federation in March. “Not all bedtime stories are fairy tales,” added Khandekar.
The competition had over 40 entries from college students, who were given the opportunity to interact with sex workers and had to write their own stories, adding a tinge of fiction. Eighteen stories were chosen from the entries to be published in the book format. From stories of a childhood lost to that of undying hope steering the life of sex workers, the book is an attempt to look beyond a regular night in the sex trade in the city.
“Each person had a different story to tell. The biggest challenge that I noticed after meeting them was the fight against societal pity,” said Sohini Lahiri, 21, a student of social work, who stood first in the competition for her story, ‘Dear Taslima Apa’.
“My interaction with a male sex worker made me realise that not everyone in this profession is leading a life attached with a sense of regret,” said Arnesh Ghose, 21, a freelance writer, who wrote the story, ‘The Bus Stop’ in the book.