Browsing through the shelves of Seagull Books, I came across the Bangladesh section where my eyes drifted towards a thin book with an off-white and red cover. What caught my attention was the line translated by Arunava Sinha. Picking it up, I read through the blurb and took it back home. Trust me it was not a wrong decision. Letters of Blood narrates the stories of the sex-workers of Bangladesh. What seems like a business has an unimaginable and horrific humane version to it. From children being sold off due to poverty to women being born to and later entering the trade as a family business all find mention in the tales of several women who reside in the brothel.
As goes the famous saying ‘Change is the only Constant’, so goes the changing days, destiny and lives of the residents of Golapipatti throughout the narrative. Who once ruled the hearts of men now struggles to earn a few takas a day for survival! The once envied lies alone in a dilapidated room irritated of the growing cries coming from the newborn! The much sought-after divas of yesteryears now breathe and live a non-acknowledged existence beside footpaths and drains! Rahman builds strong visuals from the descriptions transporting the readers to dingy lanes, dim lights, flashy colors, claustrophobic rooms and smells of incense, sweat, and alcohol.
Letters of Blood is an honest, truthful, brutal account of the activities and daily lives of sex-workers, where humanity is all but a silent observer. An industry which strides forward with its own set of rules- some barred, some silent- in front of the society. It is a narration of the wronged rather than the perceived wrong-doers. It is a tale which redefines the meaning of morality and ethics for the ‘other’ world. But most importantly it compels the readers to rethink before judging people, without knowing the true stories of their existence.
Definitely a read I would recommend and if you do want a copy go grab it from the Seagull Bookstore now!
Publisher: Seagull Books
No. of Pages: 139
Rating: 3.75/ 5