Top positive review
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD AND MORE!
Reviewed in Canada on November 13, 2016
This is a unique story and very different from anything I have ever read.
Madhu was born a boy. Because he was very effeminate, he was not accepted by his parents. His father was a college professor and he was ashamed of his son. Madhu had to leave home.
Madhu ended up in Kamathipura, the red-light district of Bombay, India. He met 80 year old Gurumai, head of the "hijra" clan. Gurumai was born both male and female with minuscule parts. Gurumai had thirty disciples working for her and she chose seven to live with her in the house she owned. Madhu was one of them. She had Madhu castrated and Madhu then spent most of her life as a sex worker. She gave half of her money to Gurumai. She considered herself a "hijra", a eunuch. She was a person who belonged to the third sex.
Madhu was now 40 years old. She works the streets as a beggar to support Gurumai. One day she receives a call from a woman named Padma Madam, the most feared brothel owner in the district. She tells Madhu that a "parcel" has arrived and she wants her to break her in and prepare her for her fate. Gurumai forces her to take the job. The "parcel" is a code for a 10 year old girl, who has been trafficked from the provinces. She was sold by her aunt, who was betrayed and told that the girl would have a better life working in a factory or as a maid.
She arrived in a cage. It was Madhu's job to break her down and prepare her for her new life. She was given a new name. She was forced to remember what to say when questioned by the police. She was brainwashed. There was a man waiting to buy her and would pay Padma Madam a lot of money for this 10 year old virgin.
While getting involved, Madhu's past comes back to haunt her and the work with the "parcel" gets harder. You will soon see how hard it gets.
Anosh Irani's writing is outstanding. The writer has taken the truth of what exists in the red-light district of Bombay and has written a novel about it. The story is about sex trafficking of young girls, prostitution, drug addiction, rape, castration etc. The subject matter is tough to digest, but illuminating.