Photo courtesy: Google images
Mumbai is termed as the ‘city of dreams’ or ‘the Dreamland’, where anyone who wants to ‘Make it Big’ lands up. It is not only the ‘Gateway to India’ to outsiders but it is also the gateway to life for all people with dreams and aspirations across the country. Some want to make it big in Bollywood, others in business and with it comes the criminal world of the ‘Dawood’ types. Why should women be left behind? There are girls from small towns who would do anything to achieve fame and name; some by sheer grit and hard work, others through contacts and links. ‘Everything is fair in love and war’ has been taken to a new level to achieve success and fame. This has resulted in moral degeneration.
On the other hand is a small time village man, who because of failed crops and loss of land to the money lenders lands up in Mumbai, along with his family. His life starts and ends up doing all types of labour jobs, sleeps on railway platforms, while he has to dish out money. Some lucky ones get into Jhuggis, again by paying a hefty amount. The family finds it difficult to make the two ends meet; the child does his bit by rag picking. The young lady is sucked into the flesh trade, not by choice but by circumstances. She is not looking for fame or name but for her survival and the survival of her loved ones. This is not what she had bargained for.
For them, the night life is the life of survival. They have been forced to become mere sex objects. They dread the night, yet wait for it every day, because it brings sustenance and hence survival. There is a silent majority who may not sell themselves but have to toil hard to make both ends meet. They take up jobs from cleaning, cooking, doing demeaning chores like cleaning the railway tracks and public washrooms to being factory workers. Each day brings a new challenge for them, and makes them a part of the lower class of the society wherein the women have no choice but to thrive hard and opt a way out to keep her family and herself sustaining in the tough conditions. And they have very much accepted all this as their “fate” or the “ultimate decision of God itself”.
Compare it with the totally opposite section of the society; you will see a large population getting attracted towards the financial capital of India. Not only men but even women have been equal partners to big dreamers. They have worked hard in supporting men to achieve their goals and now are the time they want to come up and fulfill their dreams too. The society perceives a lady who drinks and smokes as a ‘slut’- who is out of her home till late nights, has modern thinking and wears ‘inviting’ clothes but how does “such” a woman perceive herself in such a hypocritical society? A society where men can go around smoking, consuming alcohol, sleeping around with numerous women and would still be tagged as a “stud” but a girl/woman who merely fits these features is termed as a “slut or whore” ; today’s modern woman (most of them) has stopped giving a damn. They want to enjoy their lives to the fullest but in the hearts of the heart are silently withering away.
The life of the rich women in Mumbai has been well highlighted in Madhur Bhandarkar’s movie ‘PAGE 3’. They look towards the night for socializing because that defines power-power of the rich and famous. For them, the parties and night life is a way to link to themselves to the coming day. It helps them to get recognized as ‘movers and shakers’ of the society. They rub shoulders; dance like “shakiras”, have make-out sessions with a totally random guy; and some would go to any extent to be seen and noticed. They sell themselves for fame and not sustenance and that is the tragedy of life. But they do not regret it. They love the attention and crave for more. They can afford to go out at night because they have enough money, mode of transportation and enough “boyfriends” to keep them out of the “Mumbai streets at night danger”. Such women tend to lose their individuality- their individual identities in the race for fame and power. But they know that till their money banks are full and they have power, the society won’t even dare to raise a finger at them (atleast not on their face).
Then there is the large population of women, who are just surviving, that is, a large middle class women population who toil to make life go on. They work day and night but are vary of travelling alone late at night. Some say ‘Mumbai is a safe heaven for the people except the fear of bomb blasts’ but what about the hungry, horny women hunters who just wait for the right opportunity and place to let out and satisfy their inside demons? The working middle-class woman has no other alternative than to be alert all the time or to avoid working too late during the office hours. They want to work to support their families and ready or not- they face this constant fear of one night being dragged into a corner and raped/molested; every day and night.
Some middle-class modern women want to go out at late night parties, drink and have a good time and they do it as well; but they know the price they would have to pay. Constant jeering, tags like “characterless”, “whore/slut” and the constant and continuous danger of being the targets of men who “believe” that they are the ‘type of women who would not mind sleeping around” are some of the many drawbacks they will have to face.
In all the cases, woman is at the receiving end. For no fault of hers, she sees night life based on what she expects. It primarily remains sustenance, for which she under goes all the upheavals of a growing and demanding city which is called ‘Mumbai- Meri Jaan’ by many.
 ‘Jhuggi’ means hovel or shanty; http://dict.hinkhoj.com/words/meaning-of-jhuggi-jhopaDai-in-english.html