Maya's Web

 Atiriya Dasgupta

Maya looked down the busy market street. Majority of them were middle aged women haggling away the price of fruits, pieces of dress material and all the worldly material. She owns a small roadside sunglass shop selling cheap quality sunglasses, wallets and artificial leather belts. Maya knew that business runs slack until the clock strikes 9:00 pm. Maya quickly packs up her goods and deposits the bag to ice-cream parlour owner, Bijli-didi. Bijli-didi was the person who had helped Maya to establish her meagre business. Later seeing that her sales were too low to repay her debts, Bijli-didi introduced her to the night-life of the Market. Men with aching hearts and unfulfilled desires thronged the lanes where maybe their sisters or mothers had purchased the Atta a few hours earlier for the roti which he had stuffed in before leaving his house for the weekly dose of ‘medicine’. Bijli-didi was impressed by Maya’s long supple limbs, dense and dark locks which fell to her knees and her bewitching eyes. Maya’s eyes looked like a pair of deep dark pools whose depth was unknown.  As soon as Maya dropped off her goods  at Bijli-didi’s shop, she quickly changed from her loose, dirty salwar-kameez and slipped into a tight-fitting shirt and a short skirt thankfully donated by Bijli-didi.  Now, the real fun begins. Drunken men drool at her sight and many men make attempts to grope at her. But all in vain. Unlike the others who are in the same trade as hers, Maya gets to choose with whom she will spend the night. After half an hour of loitering around, Maya flashes her eyes at a man with bulging back pocket and lures him into her den. The following morning Maya quickly scrubs her face at the wash-basin in her den and combs and ties her hair into a tight bun. She quickly slips into her old loose salwar kameez. She skilfully packs the man’s clothes and shoes into small bundle. On her way to her designated shop’s spot, she drops the clothes to the hawker selling second-hand clothes.   Then Maya gives the shoes to the poor cobbler who can refurbish the shoes and sell them. If the man had any pens, watches or bracelets, she would slip them into the small boy who begs around the streets. And the rest debit, credit cards meet a sticky end in the drain along the street. One-third of the money goes to Bijli-didi and rest she keeps to herself. And as for the man, himself, Maya never goes hungry after midnight. 

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