The Galli, lit by a dim bulb was deserted. It was an unusually quiet night for a Saturday.
If you knew where to go, you'd get what you desire. That's how Babloo's business worked. One had to come into the Chaman Bar and ask the waiter, "Ghar kaise jaana hai?" That was the code.
They'd be led through the kitchen, out the backdoor into the alley I was looking down at from 3rd floor, and up the Fire Exit stairs across into the apartment building which served as the brothel house - the Ghar.
Just then I saw Tittu lead one bulky man towards the stairs. I knew I didn't want him riding on me.
But it wasn't like we had any choice.
Five minutes later a knock came at my door. "Didi," called Tittu.
As I dreaded, the fatty was my customer - first for the night.
I moved to the mirror, adjusted the blouse to reveal my cleavage and went to the door.
The man had a sweaty tired face and a grey beard. He was tall and huge.
I was on the bed. As he approached swaying, I went to him fake-smiling and seated him on the edge. I got out, stood up and started stripping.
I was in my bra and panties when he called me towards him. I went. He pulled back my hair hard and drew me close to his face, breathed into mine. I smelled whisky. He was very drunk.
He held me tight to his body and smelled me; next moment he threw me violently on the bed and stood to take off his clothes.
I was lying on my back when he turned around naked. I saw the long scar running from his collarbone to the middle of his chest.
The wound must've been deep. The scar looked ugly and scary.
He pinned me down and climbed on top of me.
"How old are you?" he asked.
Hearing his growly voice, a cold shudder passed through me.
"Twenty-three," I heard myself say.
He smiled, wicked and menacing, revealing his two golden teeth.
I felt my eyes widen in disbelief. I knew this man.
Everything flashed in my head. Twenty years ago, my mother slashed through this man's chest one night and escaped from the clutches of his abuse with me.
"I can't stop myself now," he said, "you are so beautiful, you remind me of my wife."
He started to put it in, pinning me down, but I didn't let him.
I pushed myself up, pulled him close, and bit into his fleshy neck.
He screamed in pain. I pushed him down, onto the floor.
I reached under the pillow and came out with a long kitchen blade that all girls in the brothel kept close-by for safety.
I got out of the bed.
I bent over him and said, "So you didn't die then."
Lifted the knife high up, "Now you will."