It was late in the night. In the adjacent bay, in an air conditioned compartment, of a Bangalore-Lucknow train, two men were discussing the narrow escape that they had in a cathouse. Arindam asked them for the details. They were reluctant and embarrassed. Once convinced that their identities would not be revealed, they agreed to speak to this scribe. They narrated their harrowing experiences, blow by blow, link by link. They were fleeced in a massage parlor. Here’s the narrative of their experiences, a true crime story, in the regular column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Raghu and Mohit (names changed), two north Indian businessmen, in their mid-30s, were in Bangalore. These two business partners often visited the cathouses – known as massage parlors – when they were on business-cum- pleasure trips.
It was a Sunday morning. They lazed till 10am and had a brunch an hour later. Since they had nothing better to do, Mohit, who was more computer savvy, thought of checking the massage parlors. His iPhone showed umpteen ‘erotic massage parlors’, most with swanky websites and details of services and prices. All had cell numbers. Raghu dialed few random numbers. And he turned the speaker on for Mohit to listen as well.
Female voices, speaking immaculate English, explained all. Cookie cut information followed. These ‘sexy voices’ asked if they would prefer ‘short or long services.’ Long services were for ‘all night’, about 12 hours, while short services were available for three to four hours. The tele-women were embarrassingly blunt.
Just massage without sex would cost Rs 3000/- for ‘short time’. “With happy ending massage, that is with sex, oral, vaginal and anal, including sauna and shower, it would be Rs. 4000/-,” said a nameless voice. Raghu haggled for the price and Rs 500/- concession was allowed, since two of them were there.
The one they had settled for, gave them a choice of the spa between Electronic City, Malleswaram and Indira Nagar localities. They opted for Indira Nagar as they were staying in a guest house at Domlur. They were asked to reach the 100-feet road, near Sony showroom and then contact her. Being veterans, these two business partners knew that they were on the right track.
It was about 12 noon when they had reached the assigned place. The woman told them that ‘her person’ would be there in a short while. They waited. Another number flashed on Raghu’s cell. Finally, they were taken to the second floor of a building that had large glass windows and doors. Heavy curtains gave it some privacy.
In the middle of it, there were some 10 cubicles, with beds. In one such cubicle, there were four girls (not 12 as they had been told over the phone). By the time they understood that they had been taken for a ride, it was too late. Reluctantly, they chose two girls. The place was dirty and there were bouncers around. They spoke in a language that these two north Indians did not understand.
As is the practice in the trade, Mohit paid Rs 7000/- for the ‘short services’. Pocketing that amount, the chap, who had brought them there, demanded Rs 2000/- more for room charges. He told them that they would not get any service nor the fee back. And that they could leave, if he was not prepared to pay more. Raghu talked to the woman, who this guy explained is just an ‘agent’. She laughed and advised that the money has to be paid, this time is Hindi, “Aap de do”. Thereafter, she did not pick up his call.
By the time, money changed hands, their chosen girls were gone. They were entertaining other ‘guests’. They kept on waiting for nearly 40 minutes. Raghu whispered that they would be thrown out and that they should leave. But, Mohit, like a gambler losing money, hoped for better luck.
As they were allowed in the rooms (if we could call it so), there was further rip-offs. They were asked to pay Rs500/- each as ‘cleaning charges’. They obeyed. By then all excitement about the ‘service’ had vanished.
Raghu said, “The girl with me demanded tips of Rs 2000/- to be paid just then. She did not settle for anything less. I paid. There was no massage, no sex. She just gave a few tugs and chided me. She left in a huff. When I protested, she opened the door. A burly bouncer slapped and boxed me.”
Mohit added that he had a similar experience. That he paid Rs 2500/- as tips and she left with a wicked smile.
While the two were about to leave, they heard a blood-curdling cry from one cubicle. Everyone rushed there. The door flung open, a half dressed confused man was being beaten blue black. Bleeding from the nose and mouth, he wanted to know why he was being beaten up. The girl inside wept and alleged that that guy had sodomised her. No one was ready to listen to his denials and his plea for the medical checkup of the girl.
While the victim spoke in Hindi, others spoke in a tongue that he did not understand.
Meanwhile, Raghu and Mohit were shoved out by the scruff of their necks by another bouncer. As they were being thrown out, the hapless guy was wailing that he had been duped and cheated because he did not agree to pay the exorbitant tip to the girl. They demanded that he should pay Rs. 10,000/- as ‘damages’.
“That was the last thing we heard,” confessed Mohit.
The business partners accepted that they had narrow escape. Raghu candidly accepted that most massage parlors cheated. But, those were very minor, within permissible limits. Not a total rip off like the place they went to.
Raghu added that they had never been to any dirtier place like this before. On afterthought, he felt that they should have left after paying Rs 7000/-.
I asked, “Why did you not report it to the police?”
Both said that they were family men and had izzat (honour). The police would make their lives miserable. They could not come to a distant city, time and again. They did not know the local language either. “The stakes are too high,” Mohit added.
It’s this fear that these scoundrels feed on.
As you are reading this, more people might be getting fleeced in various parts of the country. The hell hole in Bangalore is just an example. It’s a mere symptom of the swindle that goes on, at some places, with impunity. “Often, the operators of such joints are well connected. They keep the police and local administration on their sides. At times they are henchmen or kin of some influential politician,” Raghu stated.
It’s best to avoid such ‘pleasure spots’ they felt.
But will these two business partners amend their ways? Can they ever avoid such honeytraps in future? It’s a difficult guess.
Pix from the Net.
Arindam Roy has 37 years experience in various newsrooms. He was the Managing Editor of a reputed Gurgaon-based Citizen Journalist portal and has held senior positions in several publications. As Correspondent and Bureau Chief, he has written extensively for Associated Press, Times of India, Hindustan Times and multiple news outlets. He has contributed 13 chapters to various publications. Of these, seven chapters were published in two Coffee Table Books, published by the Times Group. He is a co-author of a novel, Rivers Run Back that he penned with Joyce Yarrow. The novel was launched at the American Centre, New Delhi, on January 2015. He lives in Allahabad.