Kolkata Gay Pride 2010

Begining of the parade

Beginning of the parade

I got to attend Kolkata Gay Pride as well which was on the 2nd of July. I arrived in Kolkata on the 1st of July after attending the Chennai pride and spending a few days in Bangalore. My friend Sourendra from Mumbai had introduced me to Mr. Rajshrei Chakrobarty who was Secretary of Dum Dum Society and one of the organizers of Kolkata Gay Pride. I knew that Kolkata was the first city in India to start gay prides and I was expecting it to be the biggest one in India this year as well but when I arrived at the parade venue I was shocked  to see that there were hardly 50 people in the parade.

Mr. Chakrobarty

Mr. Chakrobarty

Mr. Chakrobarty told me about the reason of few people before I asked him about it. He said that most of the organizations working on gay rights in Kolkata boycotted the parade because of some internal politics hence they could not make the parade as big as it used to be in the past. He said that Dum Dum Society and one other organization called Anandam were the only two organizations that organized the pride this year. I was surprised to hear that most of the organizations boycotted the parade but at the same time I was happy also that at least someone organized it.

the most important message

The most important message

The parade started from Jatin Das Park near Hajra crossing and ended at the Academy of Fine Arts. The parade started with only 40-50 participants but it was really interesting. I have been to all the big prides taking place in India within past one year and Kolkata one was the most liberal parade I had ever seen in India. I noticed that nobody was wearing the masks. They had an auto rickshaw with loudspeakers and the participants of the parade were singing songs of human rights, equal rights and gender equality. They were passing out pamphlets which had writing about LGBT rights.

Cool

Cool

It was raining most of the time during the parade but it could not stop people from joining the parade. The parade started with 40-50 people and ended with at least 100 or 120 people. A lot of people joined at the Academy of Fine Arts where the parade ended. In fact, the end was the most interesting part of the parade for me. At the academy a lot of young lesbian couples joined the parade. I had never seen that many lesbians before in any of the parades whether Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai and very interesting thing was that these girls were young.

Brave girl

Brave girl

They being young surprised me the most because in India lesbians coming in public and very rare and whenever I see any lesbian I always find them over 35, living either alone or with their partner and always have no connection with the family but these young girls were really young and I don’t think they were living alone or had no connection with their family. They were so open and they knew that their parents were going to know about their sexuality if they participated in the parade but they still did it which meant their parents either knew about it or these girls knew that their parents would not mind knowing that their daughter was a lesbian. I liked it.

Mr. Ranjeet Sinha

Mr. Ranjeet Sinha

The parade ended with speeches from Mr. Ranjeet Sinha, Mr. Rajarshi Chakrobarty and a few other social activists. After the parade ended, I went with Mr. Chakrobarty to attend a cultural dance and performance program organized by an organization called Saathi. This program was basically a platform for the LGBT community to show their talent and have fun. I spent about an hour at the program and then headed back to my hotel for overnight. Dum Dum Society had organized a cultural program about 2 hours bus ride away from Kolkata two days after the parade.

Cultural dance performance

Cultural dance performance

This program was really something and I could easily see how Dum Dum Society was working honestly with the LGBT community and how they had strengthened the people belonging to the community. The program was just awesome. They had several dance performances, some of them based on Bollywood songs and some on traditional  Kolkata songs,  they had fashion shows where all the clothes were designed by the people belonging to LGBT community and I was shocked to see the quality of the program. It was really awesome and I enjoyed it a lot. The chairman of municipality was the chief guest of this program.

He had a lot of fun

He had a lot of fun

There were more people in this program than the parade. I think there were at least 500 people at this program.  I was able to interview a few people including Mr. Rajshree Chakrobarty, Mr. Ranjeet Sinha and a few other people from LGBT community and all of those interviews were really interesting. Mr. Chakrobarty told me about the history of gay activism in Kolkata. He said that it first started in Kolkata in the year 1989 which clearly shows that they were one of the few who started gay activism in India and at present there are about six or seven organizations working on LGBT rights in Kolkata.

Good message

Good message

I asked about the condition of the LGBT community in Kolkata and he said that the condition of the LGBT community living in Kolkata city area is in much better condition than the LGBT community living in the other districts or suburbs of Kolkata because of the influence of media and availability of organizations working in the city. He told me that the condition of the LGBT community is much better in Mumbai and Delhi when compared with Kolkata because Mumbai had started working on this issue way before Kolkata and since Kolkata is the poorest metropolitan city in India, the life of LGBT community is not easy here.

Equal rights, yea!

Equal rights, yea!

Mr. Chakrobarty told me something really interesting that transgenders are more discriminated against when compared with gay community because their sexuality is more visible but when we talk only about discrimination then yes, the whole LGBT community is discriminated against on various levels. I asked the same question which I ask to other people whom I interview about many people thinking that homosexuality is a disease or a fashion and it being possible to change it by getting people married or making them practice yoga (Baba Ramdev Says). His answer was like the others in that he said it is not possible to change somebody’s sexuality by getting them married.

Good slogan

Good slogan

He said that many people get married with a woman under family or social pressure but they are not happy and they practice sex with a same sex person even after marriage. I know several people who do this and I definitely believe that it just not possible at all to change somebody’s sexuality by getting them married or teaching them yoga. I asked him about the existence of the LGBT community in Hindu culture and religion and he told me several stories which proves that the LGBT community has always been in existence. I also believe the same because I have read several Hindu sacred books and have visited temples where same sex behavior sculptures are shown.

Our rights, human rights

Our rights, human rights

He told me something really intersting that I did not know before. He told me when Hanuman went to Sri Lanka to search for Sita, he saw that Ravan had kept several women but he was not able to give time to all of them hence these women had started making sexual relationships with each other which clearly shows that there were lesbians during Rama’s time also. I asked him about the revocation of section 377 and he told me that homosexuality was accepted in Hindu society and temples of Kamasutra and several other books clearly proves it but British made it illegal and this judgment of the High Court of Delhi was a right judgment and most probably it will help changing the society in the future.

She was very active

She was very active

It was really informative talking with him. He was a real and honest social worker working on LGBT rights in Kolkata. After Mr. Chakrobarty, I got to meet Mr. Ranjeet Sinha who was a transgender himself and was working with transgenders in Kolkata and nearby districts. He also told me about the problemswhich the transgender community was facing in Kolkata. He told me that there are reservations on the basis of caste and religion but no reservation for transgenders. He demanded for a separate toilet system at public toilets because when he goes to the male toilet, people make fun of him and if he goes to the female toilets then women are scared.

Great

Great

Mr. Sinha told me a story of his one friend, who was a transgender Hijra himself and was a well known social activist in West Bengal and was suffering from AIDS. He had to go to the hospital once and the doctors forcibly took off his clothes, made him wear men’s clothes and only then they admitted him in the hospital. Mr. Sinha demanded that their identity should also be recognized on official documents such as passport and voter ID card. He said that all the NGOs are focusing only and only HIV and AIDS but they must do something on other issues also related with LGBT community. He mentioned all the South Indian states, especially Chennai, as being especially progressive working on transgenders issues.

Very colorful event

Very colorful event

He also said that it is not possible to change someone’s sexual identity and if one tries to do so then the result is always horrible. Kolkata taught me so many new things. I was especially thrilled to see the work of Dum Dum Society. It was really a nice experience meeting with people like Mr. Chakrobarty and Mr. Sinha and so many other people who helped me in Kolkata and educated me about their issues and their work. I hope to go their next year as well and will hope that all the organizations that had boycotted the parade this year would join the parade again by ending the internal politics and making Kolkata a city of equal rights for everyone.

Please click here to see more pictures:

Kali temple, Kolkata

I experienced something really wild in Kolkata, maybe it was the wildest experience of my life. There is a Kali temple in Kolkata which is one the 52Shaktipeeths and is one of the most important temples for Hindus. According to Hindu mythology when Parvati died, Lord Shiva became so angry that he put her body over his shoulder and started doing Tandav. He also opened his third eye which started destroying the whole universe. All the gods were so concerned about it that they went to Vishnu to help stop Shiva’s Tandav.

Vishnu used his weapon to cut the body of Parvati into 52 different parts. The places where these body parts fell are called Shaktipeeths now. So the Kali temple of Kolkata is also one of those Shaktipeeths. I had heard a lot about this temple and was really excited to go there. I had a very busy schedule in Kolkata but I still took some time to go to this temple. I also asked Seranna to come with me and she also said that she wanted to visit some Hindu temple. Both of us were so excited for visit to this temple.

There is one very famous thing about this temple- the priests. I had heard that they are really thieves and looters. They usually target outsiders of Kolkata and I was a little bit concerned about it. I had already dealt with some other Hindu temples where priests were thieves so I thought that I would be able to deal with these also. I had already warned Seranna to not entertain anyone at the temple. At the time when we reached there, a bunch of people jumped at our taxi and were looking at us through the window.

I knew what they were waiting for. We got off the taxi and found ourselves surrounded by 5-10 people who were dressed like priests and wanted to take us to the temple. I told them that I did not want to go with them, but they did not want to hear anything. They just wanted to take us at any cost. They were telling that it was some very important day of the temple therefore there was too much of a rush in the temple. They were asking for Rs. 50 for each of us to take us inside the temple without facing the rush. I was pretending that I was not hearing.

I was looking for some policeman to ask him the way to the temple. And suddenly one of the priests came in front of me and showed me an alley and said that the temple was inside that alley. I could easily see other people going straight, not towards the alley he was mentioning but he kept telling me that the temple was in that alley. After I did not entertain him, his voice turned loud and it seemed like he was getting angry now and he started yelling at me. He just wanted me to go with him but I had already decided that I would not go with him.

I usually look for police at these kinds of places and it always works. He held my hand and wanted to take me forcibly to that temple. Now it was enough, and enough was enough, I also turned loud and I turned kind of rude with him. By this time I could see a few policemen. I went to them and asked the way to the temple and they told me that I was on the right way to the temple. Those priests wanted to take me to some wrong place for whatever reasons. I wonder what would have happened if I would have gone with them.

Somehow I reached the temple after dealing with all those crazy priests. Now again I was surrounded by some priests who were asking for Rs. 20. I had decided that I would go to the temple on my own but after watching thousands of people lined up, I gave up and decided to hire one of those priests. I had chosen a fifteen-year old guy because I thought he was a new player in the business and must not be as big of a looter as the others. He was nice at first, took me through some secret gates and finally I was in front of the statue within three minutes.

And here wild things started. The priests standing near the statue were real looters. The whole atmosphere was wild there. There were too many people pushing each other, and shouting. It was very noisy out there, the priests were shouting, kicking people out who did not want to pay and take in new people who seemed rich to them. Seranna had fell down from a wall 5 feet high while coming to the statue place. She was also in pain. The whole atmosphere was wild. The priests were shouting at me. They wanted me to give them whatever I had.

I gave them Rs. 20 but they wanted more. I just wanted to get out of there but they were not letting me go out. More and more people were trying to come in but a few other priests were pushing them out, shouting… oh my God. I had never experienced such a thing before. I lost my mind, I did not know what was going on. One of the priests was trying to take my walletout of my pocket, one of them was holding my hand, he was shouting at other people at the same time… it was crazy. I gave him Rs. 50 but still he was not happy. He wanted more and more.

Finally I had to borrow some money from Seranna. I don’t remember how much money I gave him but when I came out and checked my walletI found that I had nothing left in my pocket and Seranna had also lost something like Rs. 200-300. Right after I got out of the statue building, I was still inside the temple premises, and I saw people lined-up and all of them had goats. I was shocked and then the priest helping us explained that these people were waiting for their turn to sacrifice an animal. I knew that Kali temple of Kolkata is one of the very few temples of India where animals are sacrificed but I did not know that that much of people do it. A lot peoplebelieve that Goddess Kali becomes happy if you sacrifice a goat in her temple.

There was a priest who was slaughtering the animal. I saw many people washing their goats, putting flowers on them, offering them food, showing incense, repeating mantras for them and finally bringing their animals to the priest who slaughters animals. After the animal is slaughtered, they would bring the body to the other priest who was supposed to cut the meat into small pieces and then finally this meat is distributed as a blessing to other people. I saw many people who were going to the temple with a goat and they were playing drums also.

I talked about this animal sacrificing to some priests in Benares and they said that according to Hindu mythology there was a demon named Rakhtbeej ( Rakht means blood and beej means seed) which means his blood would work as a seed. He had a boon that if his blood ever touched the ground, it would grow a new body of that demon. He started taking benefit of this boon by killing people, doing anti-religious activities and doing all sorts of bad work. Finally Goddess Durga had to come to the earth in the form of Kali to kill this demon. But the problem was that as Durga would cut off his neck, a new fresh body of this demon would appear because his blood would fall on the ground and create a new body.

So he would get new body every time Goddess Durga tried to kill him.Finally Goddess Kali (incarnation of Durga) cut off his neck and collected all his blood in a pot and drank it. She did not even let a drop of blood reach the ground and this is how she was able to kill this demon. Priests told me that since most of the Kali photos show Kali killing this demon and drinking his blood, and she has body parts wrapped around her body, a lot of people think that she likes the blood which is not true according the priests I talked to. Priests said that these body parts are of the demons, not of some innocent people or some innocent animal. They said that she had to drink the blood only because she wanted to kill this demon, not because she likes the blood.

They said that it is the most important reason behind this belief of the people that Kali likes the blood and it makes them sacrifice an animal sometimes when they pray to Kali. I don’t know to what extent this reason could be true but it made sense to me. I talked to my friends also about the animal sacrifice in the Kali temples just to get the idea of how strong this belief is and they said that if you have any wish and if you sacrifice an animal in the Kali temple, then your wish would come true for sure. There would be no onein this whole world who could stop your wish from coming true.

They gave me the example of the ex-captain of Indian cricket team who was kicked out of the team because of internal politics in the team. He tried everything for almost two years to get back in the team. He performed very well in the domestic cricket but he was still not selected. Finally he went to the Kali temple and sacrificed an animal and within the next fifteen days he was selected back in the team and this time his performance was also better than the previous times. This shows that idea of sacrificing a animal is very strong in people who have belief in it.

According to the Hindu mythology offering a coconut and breaking it in the temple is also a sacrifice which what I usually do. Once I was reading a Tantra book that said that in ancient times mixture of a certain kind of lentils and curd was called mans which literally means “meat” in present Hindi. And this book says that in ancient times it was a very good thing to offer meat to the God and Goddess but now people think that thismans means meat and they sacrifice animals in the temples or use animal meat for the rituals. Whatever the reason maybe behind sacrificing animals for rituals or making the wish come true, a lot of people do not believe in it and personally for me, I would like to sacrifice a coconut better than a animal.

After watching animal sacrificing, and facing all the looter priests I was completely out of sense now. I was not able to even talk. I had helped Seranna coming inside the temple but now I was not able to even move. Seranna held my hand and took me out of that temple. I went outside, sat somewhere for twenty-thirty minutes and when I got my sense back, I just wanted to run out of there. I knew that there was a Mother Teresa home somewhere nearby. I asked a police about it and found that mother Teresa home was just the next building to the temple. I immediately moved to that home and sat there for a while.

It was something very nice. Mother T’s organization does awesome work all over the world. I love their work. I was just sitting there, watching the real social work and was trying to forget what I had seen earlier. After spending some time there, I was the able to move and talk properly. I just left that place and did not even look again at the temple. People say that priests of this temple have done only one good thing in their whole lives that they donated some land to the Mother T’s organization. In fact the land to open thier branch in Kolkata was donated to Mother Teresa by the priests of Kali temple.

I still have high respect for the Hindu philosophy and feelings of the people but I did not like the way I was treated by the priests. The thing that disturbed me most were the looter priests. They were crazy and jungly people. I again got an opportunity to visit that temple after few days with the camera crew and I went to the temple but I did not find myself brave enough to go inside the temple again. I stayed out of the temple premises and did not go inside. I have been to several temples where priests try to loot visitors but I had never been to such a temple like this one. I was so shamed to bring Seranna with me. She said that religion is the same everywhere- the religion loots people-which is not true, but I had no answer because of the incident which happened with both of us.

Sex worker children rights rally

Children of sex workers at Durbar's officeChildren of sex workers at Durbar’s office

I participated in a rally organized by Durbar for sex workers children rights. This rally started from Durbar’s office at Sonagachi, the red light area. Seranna and I with the other crew members arrived at Durbar’s office at 6.30 evening time. This rally was supposed to start at 7.00. We were so excited. I saw hundreds of policemen wandering around the office. First of all I thought something bad had happened but in fact they were there to protect us. There were about 3000 people already present there, with most of them being children of sex workers. All of them were lined up and carrying some banners.�

Children carrying banners

Children carrying banners

There were a lot of hijras and transgenders also. There was a group of children of sex workers who were going to lead the rally with music and dance. I really liked this idea of having some music and dance also. The rally started around 7 o’clock and I think there were about 5000 people present by then. It was a huge rally. The rally started from Durbar’s office and passed through narrow alleys of Sonagachi, which is the biggest red light area of India. Seranna and I were in front cheering up with the children of sex workers.

sex workers hiding their face from camera

sex workers hiding their face from camera

Right after two-three minutes we arrived in the middle of the red light area.�I saw that there were sex workers everywhere- on the road, on the roof of the brothels, looking out of their windows… all of them were dressed very well but I could easily see that they were not happy and healthy. None of the sex workers wanted people to take their pics. They would turn their face away right after seeing the camera. I did not like it. It clearly means that they are too intimidated publicise their identities and it is only and only because of the way they are separated from the society. It was not something I was expecting.�

Sex workers children rights

I tried to look inside some of the brothels as well. I just could not believe what I saw there. The brothels were too dirty, just too much. There was not even any proper ventilation system for the houses. There were bottles of alcohol thrown everywhere. It was not something only about brothels, the whole neighborhood was terribly dirty. I saw many many people who looked like drug users and were physically and mentally sick. It was third world for me. I knew that Indian sex workers have a very bad life but I did not know that it was this bad. I had already seen some brothels in Varanasi and a few nearby districts but I never realized that our sex workers live in this terrible condition.

kolkata-289

Sex workers children rights

They are kept in the terrible conditions in the brothels, and have no ventilation, no proper food, no health care, can’t go out of the brothels and after all of this they can’t make good money. Sex work is extremely cheap in India. Some of the sex workers whom I had interviewed for the documentary had said that sometimes they charge Rs. 50 only per customer and they have to give half of it to the brothel owner. It was a terrible situation there. We distributed a lot of pamphlets to the sex workers which were about their and their children’s rights. I could not understand anything written on these pamphlets because everything was written in Bengali.

Sex workers rights

One thing that was very interesting to me was that a lot of children of sex workers were effeminate.� This whole group of the sex workers children who were doing cultural program and were leading the parade were either hijras or effeminate. Sometimes they would sing hijra songs as well. I have heard and few a sex workers and locals of Kolkata had told me that a lot of times the children of sex workers are also abused by the clients of their mother and I was wondering if this was the reason why they were so effeminate? I am not sure but it was not something I see often in my society- this huge number of hijras or effeminate people from one neighborhood.

Children of sex workers

Children of sex workers

A lot of locals of Kolkata told me that sometimes people go to brothels and contact the brothel owner and ask for a young kid and these cruel brothel owners bring the children of the sex workers who are sometimes only 6-7 years old. Usually it is not done in knowledge the mother of the child and even if they come to know about it, they just can’t do anything. Their children are forcibly made to have sex and this happens again and again- whenever there is a client asking for a young boy or girl. It was very sad to hear the way sex workers and their children are treated.�

Children of sex workers dancing

Children of sex workers dancing

A few people told me that since the kids of sex workers spend most of their time with their mother and do not get involved with any male and are abused often, it changes their lives and makes them effeminate. I do not know if this is true or not but it could be true also to some extent. Well, they were very nice with the dancing and music. Some of them were playing the drums also. After we had completed half of the way, a very famous hijra named Luxmi Narayan Tripathi joined us. She is very famous and represents hijras and transgenders of Asia.�

kolkata-312

Sex workers children

She was also full of energy and excited for the rally. She was jumping, clapping, dancing, shouting…it was so fun to see them. I loved being with them. I also danced with them, tried to repeat their Bengali songs which in fact I was not able to pronounce perfectly but I tried my best. I enjoyed most when they would sing Hindi song- hum honge kamyab (we will be successful). I also sang this song with them. It was really an amazing experience being with these little kids who were fighting for their rights. Finally we reached a big park where the parade was ended. Now different people were putting thoughts and addressing to the community people.�

Laxmi addressing to the community people

Laxmi addressing to the community people

A few sex workers, social activists and Laxmi addressed to the people present there. They promised to each other they will �keep fighting for their rights so long as they have even a drop of blood in their body. Now the rally was done and we had created a big traffic jam. I loved this rally, the kids of the sex workers and everything that happened in this rally. I am sure that I will go next year also to support them in their rally.

Condom usage demonstration & training to the sex workers

I, Seranna and translator

Seranna and I did something that India had never seen before. On the last day of the conference we did a condom usage demonstration in front of at least 6000-7000 people. We gave training to sex workers about how to keep themselves safe from sexually transmitted diseases and how to make money. After interviewing sex workers we realized that they did not know much about any STDs other than HIV. So I asked Seranna to talk about STDs in her presentation. We knew that she would be performing on the last day of the conference so we thought that it would be good opportunity for us to spread the message to a huge number of people at the same time.

I (look at the mask) and Seranna

I (look at the mask) and Seranna

Seranna was sad to see how poor Indian sex workers are. She said that western sex workers make a lot of money. She charges $300 per hour which is like two-three months salary of an Indian sex worker. She wanted to talk about how sex workers can make more money from their clients. I know that it will long time for Indian sex workers to reach on that standard but I think it was a good thing to at least tell them about it. On the last day of conference there were about 6000-7000 people, most of them were sex workers.

I and Seranna

Seranna and I

Since we made the decision to talk about different things in the Seranna’s presentation on the morning of the presentation day, we could not organize well. We had only a few hours to decide what we would be talking about. We decided to do a play to make the conversation more interesting. I had asked Seranna to bring some sex toys and she had brought three dildos and Seranna wanted to use them for the presentation. I was concerned about using sex toys in front of that huge number of people because sex toys are illegal in India.

I and Seranna on the stage

I asked Seranna to ask the organizer of the conference about using sex toys and the organizer said- go for it. But I was still concerned about showing them to people. So I also went to the organizer and talked to him about it and again his answer was same. Seranna and I talked to each other about what we will talk about and decided that this presentation should not be a boring conversation kind of thing. We decided to put some comedy in it, as Seranna always does. Now it was our turn to do the presentation but the problem was that audience was Bengali so we needed someone to translate our words from English to Bengali.

Seranna and I

Seranna and I

We asked the organizer about it and they provided us a Bengali-English translator. I played the role of a doggy customer who did not want to pay upfront and did not want to use condoms and Seranna played the role of a very smart sex worker. I was wearing a mask which was symbol of a doggy customer. This mask was in shape of a penis and balls. We started the presentation with Seranna asking for money up front but I did not want to pay the money first. I asked her to provide the services first but she always wanted money first. So we argued over this matter. I always say that I would pay money after services and Seranna would always say that she was selling her skills so she wanted money upfrontand finally Seranna refused to provide services.

Seranna giving message

Seranna giving message

Then I agree on giving the money first. By this we wanted to tell other sex workers to always ask for money upfront because in some cases the clients do not pay money after taking the services. After this Seranna shows the dildo and it brought dead silence into the audience.I felt really awkward doing it, but I hoped that it was useful for everyone at the conference.I wore that dildo and Seranna sat on her knee to milked it. She wanted to tell other sex workers to do the same with every client before providing services so that they can be sure if the penis is disease free.

Asking me if I felt good

Asking me if I felt good

After this she tells me to use the condoms but again I played the role of a doggy customer and I did not want to use one. I told her that I was married and she also looked safe and that is why I did not want to use condoms. But Seranna says that diseases are not written on the face. Then we talk about HIV/AIDS and other STDs and finally I agree to use the condoms. Then Seranna tells me to lay down on my belly on the bench and gave message and did a boob slide. By this we wanted to educate sex workers about how they can pass more time with their clients and how they can make them happy so that they make more money, and get even a tip.

Picking the condoms up

Picking the condoms up

After this Seranna puts the condom over the dildo by her mouth. Actually this dildo was so big that she had to try twice to put the condom over it. Here Seranna mixed some comedy by saying that this boy is big.Before this sentence the whole audience was silent but after hearing this everybody started laughing and clapping. I am sure they were also enjoying it. After putting the condom over dildo she gives a blow job. We had few toys of the STDs viruses. Seranna would act like giving blow job and then show the different toys and tell about how they spread and what they can do. I liked the way she explained about all different diseases very much.

STDs virus toys

STDs virus toys

And then she acted like we were having sex and she would ask me if I was enjoying it. This was also one very important part of this training to tell sex workers to keep talking to their clients about how they feel while having sex. This way the men become more erected and cum early (I believe in the idea of working smart, not hard). So good for sex workers. By this time our time and bench’s life was finished. It broke and we fell down on the ground and this dead silence amongst the audience turned into loud noise of laughing and clapping. I loved it.

Going to put condoms over the didlo

Going to put condoms over the dildo

At last I give her a tip for her awesome services. I believe that this kind of sex services can change the lives of Indian sex workers. I am sure that Indian men would love to have that kind of services but I don’t understand why our sex workers do not do such things. I hope this presentation helps them to make more money and change their lives. Right after this presentation we were covered by the media, social workers , sex workers and other general people. All these people wanted to talk to us. They wanted to interview us. It was so fun doing it. Maybe we will also do the same thing in the US in the coming June.

Sex worker’s conference

Today it was the inauguration of the conference. We reached there around 9 o’clock. The conference inauguration was heldin a very bighall.I think there were almost a thousand people present there and most of them were sex workers from different parts of India and abroad. I had never seenthat big number of sexworkers at one place. There were lots of Hijras as well.There werepeople from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Australia, Hong Kong, US and UK. Butmost of them were from India and Bangladesh.Mayer ofKolkata city, some religious leader and a lot ofother VIPs were also there as chief guest.

I metDr. Jana who is member of the advisory board to Government of India for HIV and AIDS programs in India. He was founder of the Sonaganchi project whichhas been really a huge success and now hasbecome a model for the whole world. They have separated the programs in two session each day, 3 hours each session.The second session wasthe panel discussion aboutsex workers are entertainmentworkers. Different people put their thoughts but to be honest I did not understand most part of it because the whole conversation was in Bengali. But I understood about half of it, it was Okay.

It was very interesting to see how sex workers were putting their views and sharing their experience. Most of them were talking about the problems they face created by Police and discrimination in the society. A lot of them were saying that their children can not get admission in the schools only because they are children of the sex workers. They can not open a bank account or even buy a insurance because they don’t have anyresidential proof.It means they might not be able to use Internet either because now it is necessaryfor everyone to show their identity cardat the cybercafe.

During the conference few people from media came who wanted to interview Seranna about the documentary we are making. She was interviewed first and then they interviewed me also. They wanted to talkme aboutSanjeevani Booti. After my interview they talkedto other foreigners, Hijras and sex workers. I also want to inteviewfew sex workers cause it seemssomething different thanwhat I have already known about them. There are a lot of things that I need to know and this is a good opportunity forme. I will try to interview them tomorrow.

Kolkata

I arrived in Kolkata an hour ago and now at Durbar’s office. I have spent only an hour in Kolkatta and my cream color T-shirt is almost black now. Its fucking polluted city. There is smoke everywhere. It seems like Bengali people like dark colors a lot. Taxis are dark yellow, buses are dark green, buildings look very old, and yea they have trams also. It is not something I was expecting. It seems like I will have so fun here. Forgot to bring the data cable for my camera so will upload pics when I get back home.

Durbar guys are very nice. They all seem like they are welcoming us. They said that conference will start tomorrow so its day off for me. Maybe I will do some touristic activity today.