The High-Wailing


Criss-crossing lines, head lights
Life passing on high-way
As if nothing happened
In the headlights pale yellow
Crimson flashy lipstick
Visible from a far away windshield
To solicit customers
I stopped with halting creek
Into the world of oldest profession
Running from ages..
The rules are same
Game is old…
Revisiting the darker side
Of temporary passions
Saving lives…saving families
In the same friendly darkness
Life is at stand-still
Like a spent passion
Hunger, sex… providing it all
With the same dull energy
Of an reluctant night
The duty has to be done
The night has to pass…
Leaving way for another night
Of bruises and fulfilling the
Unfulfilled desires…
Of mankind…this is rarely kind…
Forgetting the old bruises
The high-way sex workers
Get ready for another night of
Borrowed energy and stuffy make-up
The dhabas so protected…
The trade in the corners and
Among mushy bushes
Not so protected..
“We have some problems”
Says the trader of flesh…
This is what I have, she says
Just body… don’t prod your brains
For the matter which stuck
With either an ailing husband
Or to be educated children…
The problem is not me..
The problem is society..
Sometimes in uniform..
Sometimes not..
But they demand what they ought not..
“ I am fine” says she…
Don’t try to help me..
My life is gone… body is spent
This remnants.. I don’t care
But have to work some more time
To realize the distant dream..
“help me with female condoms”
Begs she… a chokingly shocked me..
I can’t force them to wear… I have to work
Just some more time…
I am numb with practicality…
Mustering all my courage…
I could barely utter…
“How you know female condoms??”
Oh… You don’t know this??… She is nonplussed
My clients are my university
Education you people never
Thought either important
Or respectable…
“That’s Ok! “She pitied my ignorance…
She explained…
“Dear… I can’t force my clients to wear one..
They don’t listen…”
So one old client… on a sober night..
Advised me to have female condoms…
Before my expression turns from grief
To unfathomable compassion
Which is washing over me
Like an unexpected chill…
She offered me some tea..
“Come lets drink… We both ladies..
We can talk”
I followed her…with an unknown awe..
“Don’t worry I will pay for the tea…”
She promised magnanimously…
Two lonely woman drinking tea..
On a dull night… of pale yellow vapor..
Cars and trucks fast going on high-way..
A golden silence crept between us..
She has nothing to say…
I am too muted to ask..
She paid for the tea..
From her treasure purse stuffed in blouse..
I felt it’s the best tea I have ever tasted
Honest treat I have ever got…
Ethically sweet like sweat of love…
She gave me a friendly smile..
Proudly said…” he makes best tea for me and my….”
I nodded yes..
It’s time to leave for me
Work for her…
I said bye with my eyes…
She looked at me… like a mother
Like a woman…
We may never meet again…
I sat in my car…..she said..
Whispering tones…
Amma! You read a lot, if you know female condoms..
Let me know.. Leave message at this dhaba..
I will get it!!!”
With that she left
“just some more time… to realize my dream!!”
I hit the high-way again..
Glistening car windows… they are my moisten eyes
Just some more time…. Echoing in my heart
And jaded soul of human values…!!

Sex workers


The High-Way Sex Work/Workers who does their trade on National High-ways are on rise. The irony of their life is, they are all poor woman from nearby villages/towns where they don’t reveal about their profession in their home town. The poem depicts real facts which may or may not be palatable to some sections of society. This is my learning out of High-way sex workers on NH43. I RESPECT THEM AS I RESPECT MY MOTHER AND SISTER. Their neglect on health is making them more vulnerable to many diseases including HIV/AIDS  This is causing problems as their health and other psycho-social problems are completely neglected as THEY LEAD A DOUBLE LIFE! AT THE COST OF LIFE!!-SPM

© Sai Padma: IPR:// All rights reserved.



  1. its not poesy its ones pain in vain u have worded that sai ….no words but tears are the only tribute i can pay ….love j

    • Sai, i appreciate this beautiful narration of undervalued and disrespected lives………. when would our our girls/women be saved from subjugation and abuses……..

  2. Well said.My mind is blank with frustration or anger!? i am not sure,If there is anyway we can help,Please do remember me.I don’t even know you but it was touchy.I am an old friend of Afsar.

  3. Very well composed Padma jee. The plight and predicament, sorrow and distress of these unfortunate souls is more than pitiable and sadly we with our”jaded soul of human values” pretend to ignore and say “all is well with this world”……Nice poem

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