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"The name Sonagachi evokes a variety of reactions in a variety of people – distaste, contempt, curiosity, lust, greed…and so on. But how many spare a thought to the real lives of the very real women who have made Asia's largest red-light area so famously infamous? What tragedies and compulsions, and sheer helplessness drive them into this detestable trade? Would any woman choose such a life if she had a choice of another of security, safety and dignity? Even while mired in the slush of their own condemned lives, how do these women gather the strength to keep another from being doomed to it? A baby girl brings joy and meaning to the life of a lonely old man… A street-smart oldman who has been quite successful in acquiring money, proves to be defenceless against the wiles of a scheming young woman… Written with a deep understanding of the workings of the human mind, with charity and compassion, and spiced with adventure, thrill, humour, and satire, this collection of stories is a celebration of women in their many avatars – cherished daughter, impressionable young girl, loving mother, scheming wife, reluctant beggar, and what not… "