Delhi Sex Workers to Celebrate Holi With Kheer, Biryani

Published: 16th March 2014 04:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th March 2014 04:27 PM   |  A+A-


Kiran, who has called Delhi's notorious red light district G.B. Road her home for more than 15 years, is looking forward to Holi, a day that will fill her day with colours.

"We celebrate each festival here, be it Holi or Diwali. We do not necessarily go out of the building premises, but all of us are together on this day," Kiran (name changed) told IANS.

It is not just Kiran but most of her friends in the brothel situated on Garstin Bastion or G.B. Road -- one of the largest red light districts in northern India -- are looking forward to a riot of colour Monday.

Agreed Kanchan, a co-worker, who added that the festival was celebrated with fervour in the area.

"We prepare delicacies like kheer, biryani and korma. Something 'meetha' (sweet) is always there for the occasion," she said smilingly.

Their day on Holi starts earlier than usual -- with sweets and gulaal.

According to Amit Kumar, national coordinator of the All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW), a group of sex workers' organizations, some brothels are closed till about 5 p.m. on that day.

"This is to avoid any kind of hooliganism. However, the women enjoy the festival internally with extremely trusted clients," Kumar said.

"Those who wish to visit their friends in adjoining brothels to celebrate the festival venture out only after ensuring that the streets are safe outside," Kumar added.

Asked if the festival, which gives inebriated men an occasion to indulge in untoward activities and throw colour forcefully, scares them, the girls intervened to say that no "outsiders" are allowed inside the brothels.

"No outside colours and men are allowed then. We only play with the colours we get ourselves," said 44-year-old Kiran, a mother of three children.

"However, our regular customers do come to play Holi with us each year," she added.

But for Divya, Holi is just another day. She prefers to spend it without playing with colours.

"I do not like to play Holi. I do not like people putting colour on me," shared Divya, a native of Bangalore.

She quickly added: "I do eat the 'kheer'.

The festival, however, means extra work for Delhi Police who increase their pickets on the day.

"Police pickets are increased on Holi to keep a tab on drunken visitors in the area. Extra vigil is ensured to prevent any unforeseen incident," Alok Kumar, a deputy commissioner of police, told IANS.

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