Bombay, much like New York, is the city one seeks out when in search of fortune, or a future, or better luck, or money, or power or fame, or better economy, or for the the better part of India, poverty stricken India, it’s just a place to sell the daughters that they were too poor to abort, or were too kind hearted to starve to death after being born. The unlucky daughters are sold, oh I’m sorry did I say sold, I meant married off and then sold by their husbands, into brothels, the lucky ones are made bonded servants in “good” families who live in shiny gated communities like mine. Gated communities where each leaf is groomed just so, workers like ants cleaning every day, all day just to maintain the sheen, the outward luster to camouflage what’s rotten inside.
One such [un]lucky daughter did come into our gated community, she was all of 14. Some say she was from a remote village in Assam, others claim she was sent by an agency from Kolkota. All agree she was miserable and aching to leave and stopped time and again, once by her owner [let’s call a spade a spade] who beat her in front of the guards diligently screening visitors. Two days ago, she lay dead, a crumpled heap, on the awning above the entrance to the F Tower. After her body was found, the owners of the flat, the fine, moral and very upstanding HR people claimed she had already been missing for four days. They’d assumed their property had slipped past the guards at the front gate and Bombay had eaten her up. Had transformed her into one of those unlucky girls, if she didn’t wind up in the diminishing red light district in South Bombay she would be lucky to be the transients who live in the makeshift shanties by the highway subspace.
Then the whole story had come out, some accused the husband of using the girl as his sex slave, the beating was known to everyone. The women at the bus stop clucked and fussed because this had riled up all the maids who worked in each of the six towers. The internet said the girl’s father had been called and told to get the girl that day. These are poor people who were likely paid a lump sum for their 14 year old kid (not 16 as the news papers had reported) and she wasn’t the babysitter, she was the servant. There was never going to come a time when the father would have traipsed all the way from wherever they were from to collect his daughter and more likely give back the money …
But other than the maids going on strike to take advantage of the fracas was there any voice raised in the development? We all held our heads down, complicit in our silence. It’s so wrong [for women] to have premarital sex but it’s ok to keep a small child as a slave? Where are your morals?
I spoke with a neighbor of mine who has just returned to India from Canada she said to me, there are things I hate about India and this is up there, certainly I can’t help but think about my own little daughter working. What is happening here in this ultra modern
city why does no one want to change things? This little girl’s death served as an example to no one, all it did was show that it sucks if you’re born a girl and born poor in India because everyone is out to take advantage of you. The hypocrisy that’s pervasive in the masses, the deliberate and delusional corrupting of what right and wrong are is so common that it seems like they’ve all bought into the lie from Animal Farm. “All animals are equal. Some animals are just more equal than others.”