Shenaya

I, Shenaya, grew up in Mankhurd, Mumbai, and was also called Pinky by my family. I used to go with my mother to work on construction sites. I lost my father in 2005 when I was just 12 years old and an older brother who is mentally unstable. After my father's death, my mother moved to our hometown in Satara Patan, Maharashtra. Due to my aunt's insistence, she found a man for me to marry who suffered from TB but kept the fact secret from everyone.


After marriage when Shenaya was nine months pregnant, she came to her mother's place in Mankhurd in Mumbai. During that time her husband passed away back home and her husband's family didn't inform Pinky about his death for six months. She only got to know when she went back to his family after pregnancy.


Her mother bought her back and then both of them started working together. One day at work, she fell in love with one Bengali boy, who was the son of another commercially sexually exploited woman. The entire family was in the same trade. They soon got married but her dreams were short-lived and shattered soon.


After marriage, her husband sold her in the Ghatkopar Red Light Area and started beating her to do the same business which his mother and other family were doing. She had no choice left - by then she had her first son, her mother met with an accident and became handicapped and there was no other source of income for them. On the one side the pressure and constant beating from her husband and the situation where the family will starve on the other end, Shenaya was forced to be exploited in this red-light area for commercial sex.


Her second husband died in 2015, leaving behind two children. Now she has kept two of her children in two different hostels, the older son is now 14 years old.


I am tired of taking all the responsibilities of having to care for my mother, son, and brother. I feel very stressed out as I feel that I don't have any respect in society. Some of the areas I struggle with are, when I face stigma from a society where people treat me like I am untouchable; when the police come on raids, I have to run hide and protect myself like I am doing something wrong; when people from my village come to the area, I have to hide for two hours or more somewhere and then go home wearing a Burqa or else news will spread about my profession and make it unbearable to live there for my parents & family. I feel like I need some peace in my life. I think it's time to stop running and live with freedom and dignity. That's why I expressed my desire to the Purnata staff that I want to move on in my life and find some other option to earn money.


I have an interest in driving but whatever training or job I get, I'm willing to live a life of dignity and live free. After all, money is not everything in life.