Book Talk: Ordinary lives in the extraordinary world of Delhi brothels

Brothel

Sushma looks as if she's in her late forties but she's not sure about her real age. Her name isn't real either, just the one she goes by in New Delhi's red light district.

She is among the many women, men and children living and working in brothel number 300 on Garstin Bastion Road, known as "G.B. Road," in the city's old quarters who are documented by Mayank Austen Soofi in his new book, "Nobody Can Love You More".

Soofi offers readers a glimpse into how sex workers interact with customers, often aggressively and crassly, and the more regular aspects of their lives, including cooking and praying.

Soofi spoke to Reuters about his book and the sex workers who he now calls his friends after spending three years with those he describes as ordinary people living in an extraordinary world.

Q: How did you first meet the people working and living in Delhi's red light district?

A: "When I first started going to G.B. Road, I had no intention to write a book on the place. A friend told me there's one particular brothel and the owner is looking for somebody to teach English to the children. So, that's how I got into G.B. Road. Otherwise it's very difficult to get access to it, unless you're a customer of course.

"I think the red light district itself is a dying idea. Now you can get sex on the Internet and hook up with people. I think maybe after 20, 30 years, G.B. Road will become extinct. I thought before this world disappears, I should do something about it, I wanted to understand it and that's why I wanted to write."

Q: Did you have any misconceptions about people involved in the sex industry that were shattered once you got to know them?

... contd.

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