A Wait, A Rate

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Story of Kriti Aggarwal

Connaught Place, in the heart of Delhi, and is in a way the heart of Delhi. So, I guess then that it is only befitting that this is the only place where I have been asked my rate. Yes! Rate! For sex of course, in case you were wondering.

This goes back by almost a decade. An evening I shall never forget. After a long hectic week at work, meeting up with an old friend from school for pizza, at a new place in Connaught Place - seemed like the perfect end to my Friday. As we finalised the plan and I rushed out of office excited, the weight of the books in my hands and the fatigue in my body seemed to disappear. Finally I reached my destination - we were to meet outside Wenger’s, the old-time-famous-bakery and then walk to the new pizza place.

Turned out that my friend was running late and lying about exactly how late he was going to be. As I waited outside Wenger’s, a random passerby paused, wiggled his eyebrows at me and mouthed ‘kitna?’ (Hindi for ‘how much?’). I was shocked. Tired and standing there with books, wondering if prostitutes have started posing as Librarians to lure clients.

Getting angrier at my friend, and by this time Wenger’s had closed and the crowd was thinning out, as I stood there trying to come to terms with what had just passed, another passerby paused a few meters away. Cautiously establishing eye contact, he too gestured towards me to indicate he was interested in me. Twice in an hour! That was a new record for me, of course, one I am not proud of.

This was unimaginable and unacceptable to me. These people were bringing shame to one of my favourite public places in Delhi. I was tired after a long day at work with weary eyes. I was wearing a simple tee and jeans, nothing that a conventional prostitute would. I wasn’t asking for it. I was just standing there –waiting. Then what triggered those two men - my clothes or their mentality? My body or their own mind?

I would be asked these questions even if I was wearing something short and skimpy! Then why should I only wear those clothes that suit your society and value?

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