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Abused by stepfather, sex worker’s daughter turns life around with Zumba

Abused by stepfather, sex worker’s daughter turns life around with Zumba

The Bridge Desk

Published: 30 March 2020 9:54 AM GMT

Life is riddled with troubles and giggles. The struggles you have been through in the past would always have a reward for you in the future, in the same way as the adage goes: ‘Where there is a will, there is a way!’ Tanya is among the many daughters of sex workers in Mumbai’s Kamanthipura district. Having suffered from child abuse at the hands of her step-father, she has come to find solace in dance and has been pursuing Zumba.

She recalls how she would take it upon herself to help her mother deck up whether it was applying makeup or pin up the saree just right! “Every evening, my mother used to dress up, put on makeup, and go out. As a child, I always used to imagine what my mother does,” she tells Brut.

When she finally left her stepfather’s home at the age of 16 years, she was unsure of the path she would take. Yet, there was always something to look forward to, as she discovered that dancing was a new lease of life. “For the first time, I was able to cry and say, ‘this is me and this is what has happened to me’. Those words gave birth to a different woman inside me,” she says.


Her interest grew, and she learned how she could use the dance beats to connect people and narrate her story. Tanya has been associated with Kranti, a non-governmental organisation that empowers women from Mumbai’s red-light areas to become agents of social change.

She soon completed her studies and trained herself to become a licensed Zumba instructor. Today, Tanya is a trainee flight attendant and teaches Zumba in slum areas.

Years of abuse couldn’t dampen her spirit of living life on her own someday. "I am so glad that I am part of this NGO since the past one year. Since my mother was a sex worker, people somehow expected that I would end up in the red-light area as well. But this NGO has given me the opportunity to dream big and is empowering me to achieve my dreams,” she tells DNA.

Tanya’s journey started off as a puzzle with all its pieces jumbled and disarrayed. But she was destined to be much more than an inspirational story. One by one, she put the pieces together to reveal a masterpiece.

Her story, and her fight, goes on.

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