A red-light district. Even the mention of one is treated with a fair amount of prejudice by most. And in a country that is strife with such biases against so called 'dirty' parts of our world, and one that demands that you be 'Fair & Lovely', a young girl from Kamathipura - Mumbai's oldest red-light district - fought against all odds and found herself through theatre.
This Humans of Bombay post about her journey embodies all that is inspirational about the human spirit.
Born to a sex-worker who was trafficked from Kerala to Kamathipura, this girl was discriminated against for her dark skin. The brave girl spoke to HOB about what it was like being treated with such baseless biases - and the resulting violence.
"At school, the other children refused to talk to me or play with me. They would call me a 'crow' or 'black cow' behind my back and treat me like an untouchable. I was always by myself and at the age of 10, one of my professors at my school took advantage of the situation and raped me."
She emphasised how our education system needs to teach children early on the difference between a 'good touch' and a 'bad touch'. In fact, she's joined a street play group that explain to the people through theatre what abuse entails, about menstruation and about sex.
"It's so infuriating that we live in a place where we'd rather let our daughters get raped than explaining these things. Just because it's considered a taboo."
This brave soul still lives in Mumbai, even though her parents moved back to Kerala a few years ago. She has found a home among the loving women of Kamathipura. With these very women, who treat her as a daughter, she has grown up with the knowledge that she is beautiful no matter what her colour or her background.
And she leaves us with some important questions about how we perceive beauty:
"Why is beauty so superficial? You maybe fair and I'm dark, but I still feel beautiful. Why is beauty associated with skin colour? Why does where I come from matter? Why can't we see people for the good in them? Why can't we just accept?"
Read the entire post here:
We wait, beautiful girl, for a day when we'll have answers to these. But until then, we're proud of women like you, bringing that day just a bit closer.