1. Yesterday, Humans of Bombay posted a photo of 20-year-old Shweta Katti. The photo was accompanied by her first-person account about growing up in a “red light area” and how she journeyed out of it, all the way to college in the United States.
2. Like so many others, we were obviously moved by her story and very curious, so we talked to the founder of Humans of Bombay, Karishma Mehta, who interviewed Shweta.
Karishma Mehta told BuzzFeed over a phone call that Shweta, who was previously insecure because of her dark skin, now exudes confidence. “She’s fought her insecurities. She’s doing exceptionally at Bard, and is in fact looking forward to going to a better college.”
Shweta told Karishma that she regained her lost self esteem after travelling throughout India conducting sex ed workshops, where she realised she didn’t feel judged for the way she looked or for her background. “I don’t know why you have to be fair to be beautiful…and because I’m dark I’ve always been called ugly,” she told the page.
3. Karishma Mehta further said that Shweta has no preconceived notions despite growing up seeing some very scarring things in the red light area of Kamathipura.
“She’s even witnessed men burning women there, and yet she’s focused on giving back to Kamathipura and hopes to do something about the lack of libraries, cafes, and spaces for social interaction in the area,” Mehta told BuzzFeed. “She believes the solution does not lie in eradicating Kamathipura but accepting it because many women have chosen to be sex workers. It is their choice.” she said.
4. “As Indians, we need to judge less and accept things that are not always in our comfort zone, because my background is not my weakness,” says Katti.
“Yes, open your mind about my home. Accept that people have choices and know that so many women there are in it by choice…because it’s their source of livelihood. As Indians, we need to judge less and accept things that are not always in our comfort zone, because my background is not my weakness…I’m me, and no location can define who I am,” she told Humans of Bombay.