In Kamathipura chawls,there’s a wave of joy not seen since 2005

Two chawls in Kamathipura were abuzz with unusual activity late Tuesday afternoon

Written by Srinath Rao | Mumbai | Published: July 17, 2013 1:55 am

Two chawls in Kamathipura were abuzz with unusual activity late Tuesday afternoon. Even sudden showers failed to stop the steady stream of women exiting the lane and hailing taxis for Prabhadevi.

All but a handful of rooms in both chawls house former bar dancers,most of whom hadn’t stepped out of their homes with such happiness since 2005.

“This is a happy day for us. The Supreme Court’s decision has brought us great joy. We are going to Siddhivinayak temple to offer our thanks to the lord,” said Seema Singh (40),ducking into her room to dress up.

The verdict has brought much relief to the women here,many of whom lost their jobs after the ban in 2005 and struggled to find a steady source of income since then. For the younger lot,however,there is hope for a new beginning.

“For the past one year,I have been singing at Sunshine Bar in Dongri. I have never worked at a dance bar before,but hope to do so now. Dancing is my primary passion. I learnt singing because I could not find any work as a dancer,” said

Kiran Raj.

The 25-year-old from Uttar Pradesh arrived in the city a year ago,and — as is typical among most women living in the chawl — is the sole breadwinner in her family. “I have three younger sisters and four brothers to support. My mother has a heart aliment. I am paying for the treatment. Once dance bars reopen,I can earn enough to support them,” she said.

Many women shopped for new clothes and dresses with a gusto rarely seen since the ban in 2005.

“Business picked up today for the first time since 2005. At that time,I would visit each house every day and sell at least three sarees. After the ban,they stopped buying clothes from me. Most had found other jobs and no longer bought bright,colourful sarees,” said Riyaz Ahmad Shah,a local salesman.

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