Written by- Shaikh Khalil Shakha Nirvana
Call for afternoon prayer has just been played from the local minaret loudspeaker. It’s the call for all faithful Muslims. Three more hours is still needed to be dusk. It’s the day of Ramadan, the day of hardship. After hardship, there’s reward. Rewards would be in heaven for the virtuous, but for Khodey, there’s fire and thorn, nothing else. Fire usually rules the land and air of desert. This month turns Khodey’s life into desert. That’s why the fiery desert pops up in her mind at every Ramadan. The whole day she is standing on her feet in dark narrow lane, but get nothing, no buyer buys her body. What a whore can sell, nothing but her sex. Khodey is a sex worker. What will she feed her tummy today? Poor khodey! All others get almost the same, but she has the worst luck. Ramadan brings a big misfortune to her body, to her trade, and to the business of all whores at this English Road of Dhaka city. She must count lose. Cheap restaurants on this blind slum lane also count lose. During the day eating and sex is forbidden this month. All the poor food traders here did business under cover before, but now it’s impossible. The virtuous population hikes in number. Standing on feet Khodey is thinking about all those horrible changes.
Almost at the end of the day Khodey hooks up a fish, not big enough. She brings him up with no delay and falls on her cranky couch, four feet high from the floor. It’s a small room packed with trashy old stuffs and almost occupied by the couch itself. Rent of the room is ten thousand, too costly for her to pay. She starts murmuring, whispering with her client. The room is marshy and lightly dark and divided into two parts by a thin black curtain hanging on the middle of the couch. On the divided part of the room, underneath the couch two elderly persons are waiting eagerly for something. They are waiting and staring at the curtain for the end of their daughter’s act, the act of sex. Over the couch two persons are arguing in low tone and that noise are making annoyed two elderly persons under the couch. Why she is too slow, why making delay? Mother must make Iftar, the sacred food to break her husband’s holy fasting. When her annoyance reaches at the peak, her mother suddenly burst and starts buzzing- Khodey, what the hell is going on, what makes you so delay? Your dad is fasting. I should buy onion to fry chickpeas for his Iftar. Hurry up Khodey.
This sneaky generation is not honest to their trades. She was not like them. Khodey’s mother falls in the disgust of generation gap.
Wicked onion traders stocked onion to make profit from its hiked price this Ramadan. It’s a disaster in the commodity market and obviously people are used to this funny crooked act. Scarce onion will be fried with chickpeas, just after Khodey get bucks from her today’s deal. Khodey fire up in mind listening her mother’s tone but that doesn’t show up her rage to cross the ethics of her trade.
-Mom, what’s your shame to call me Shila. Isn’t it my name?
Her voice carries her anger exactly as it was. Mother familiars with her daughter’s temper. She becomes cautious. She can’t pronounce Khodey at this moment, because that name is smeared with her adorable childhood, not known to anyone except they. She did a nuisance job. Two old persons on the other side of black curtain erect their sensual ears like vigilant dog. Whispering of two couch riders enters in their careful ears.
-Why you wanna leave? Why not you wanna do me? Do you know, what would happen if brothel headman gets the fact that I cheated you! He will kill me and chop me up. You, the fuckin good boy lose nothing.
-Please let me go home. I just came near the brothel lane to see, what’s going on in. I am a high school student. I have some money with me, take it and set me free. Please!
-No never, you must fuck me asshole, no way.
Khodey’s voice goes little up. Her parents under the couch listen all these, become irritated and start whispering to each other angrily.
-God dam of it. Stupid Khodey caught up an underage boy, shit for her.
Once Khodey’s client left after the deal was over. Chickpeas and little much more are roasted with costly onion under her couch by mobile earthen oven. Sacred dish of Iftar has prepared for her dad, the only family member who was fasting for God almighty. The moment of Iftar has arrived with a loud siren blow, like the alarming siren of a violent air raid. Fortunately, there’s no war at all. The old man and his spouse begin the ritual, start to mouth up holy food together. Nobody notices the holy rays glittering in the old man’s socketed eyes. All on a sudden Khodey appears in the scene, pushes her hand in the dish to grab some food, maybe to take part in the holy acts. Something is going to happen. The old man rolls up his hands and pushes the dish up. He bursts into rage.
-I’m not eating anymore. It’s now a profane dish, dam of it.
The old woman turns into dumb by her husband’s words. Her words’ stock runs out. She just keeps staring at him with no winks at all. Mother may dumb, but daughter gets enough words to answer her dad.
-Wholly shit! You, old fart are living on this God dam whore! How gonna be a hooker’s money good, but her hands gonna be profane. Mom, drive this old bastard out of this room. I don’t need this shit.
The rebel girl presses hands over her eyes and just gets out of the scene. Did she hide tears like a lovely little girl or like an adorable lover? Possibly she prefers to conceal Khodey under Shila’s Niqab. At that very moment the rolling dusk shows up with its stupid words of silence.
Call for the dusk time prayer has just been played from the minaret, but its remnants has still repped up with the brothel’s rigid darkness. A three-legged disowned dog is weeping in sharp tone at the open door of Khodey’s room. As if, it just discovers the secrets swinging between Khodey to Shila and Shila to Khodey.