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Massage parlors & Dance Bars in Kolkata: See What happens behind the curtains

In Kolkata, hiding behind their swanky ambiance, dance bars and massage parlors have become hot destinations for quite a few. NewsGram's reporter Arnab Mitra digs into the matter.


By Roshni Chakrabarty and Arnab Mitra

Hiding behind their swanky ambiance, dance bars and massage parlors have become hot destinations for quite a few. NewsGram reporter for Kolkata, Arnab Mitra went to uncover bits and pieces on what happens behind those satin curtains and scented lounges.

Sao Massage Parlor, Salt Lake

Large banners in the vicinity of the Sao Massage Parlor in Salt Lake announced its existence. According to the banner, one could avail Chinese, ayurvedic and various other massages here.

Arnab made his way to the massage parlor which took two floors of a residential building in Karunamoyee, Saltlake. The person who runs the massage parlor is a resident of that very building.

As Arnab attempted to enter the place, he was greeted by 2-3 men who welcomed him with a catalogue. The prices ranged from 500 to 20,000 rupees for the various types of massages. Along with the name of each massage was the photo of the massage expert. All of these “massage experts” were women.

Arnab flicked through the catalogue and said he preferred to “order inside”.

The beautifully decorated massage parlor was marble floored and looked like every other swanky beauty parlor. Separate sections were allocated for the different services. Customers could avail cigarettes, alcohol or ganja as per their choice.

Arnab chose a nominal hair massage worth 500 rupees. The North-eastern woman who came to offer him her services was dressed in a mini skirt and a half sleeved shirt.

On hearing certain noises coming from the nearby room labeled for Ayurvedic massages, Arnab excused himself to go to the toilet which was situated right beside that room.

A grizzly sight inside the room met his eyes. Around 3-4 men were pulling the saree of a woman in the room.

The woman, who seemed to be her early 20s, was pleading with the men who were relentless.

“Tumko 20,000 rupiya diya gaya hai massage ke liya, ab toh jitna maza karna hai hum karenge, parlor mein ghusne se pehle hi yeh kaha gaya tha humse.” (We have offered you 20,000 for the massage, now we will have as much fun with you as we like. We were promised this even before we entered the parlor.)

As the girl kept trying to fend them off, one of the men burnt her arms and body repeatedly with the cigarette he held.

Surprisingly, all this was happening right in front of the owner of the parlor- a middle aged lady of a seemingly middle class family. The other women working there strangely seemed to be enjoying the situation as they taped the incident.

Were these men really customers? Or were they brought in for some other purpose? Is every customer allowed to treat the women in this manner?

Such questions sadly remain unanswered.

Arnab took out his phone and, on the pretext of listening to music, tried to covertly capture a video evidence of the incident. But his intentions were promptly discovered and despite playing the press card, his mobile was snatched away and the video deleted before he was shoved out of the parlor.

When Arnab went to the Bidhannagar Police to complain about the forceful snatching of phone and deletion of evidence, the police mocked him. “Apnara toh news kilogramey bikri koren.” (You sell news by the kilo.)

Soon after, Arnab was asked to leave the police station.

City Heart Bar & Restaurant, Barasat

When Arnab entered the City Heart Bar & Restaurant in Barasat at around nine at night, business was flourishing. High voltage Hindi numbers played while beautiful young women danced on the floor.

Alcohol poured and money flew as the touts made deals left and right on behalf of the women. Earnings are divided amongst each member of the establishment, including the touts and the manager, the NewsGram reporter learned.

As Arnab offered 100-150 bucks to one girl, a tout came and inquired whether he was looking for something special. On a deal of Rs 5,000, Arnab was taken to the girl he had offered money to.

On meeting him, the girl took him by the hand and led him to a room right beside the dance floor, where she proceeded to take off her saree.

Arnab stopped her saying he had come from an organization which worked with sex workers and that he was just looking to speak to her regarding a few things.

After the initial hesitation, Tanisha(name changed) said she was in the profession willingly and that when she had applied for the job, everything had been explained to her clearly. “I am the sole bread earner for my family. I have to look after my parents and other family members as well. This profession helps me earn enough for that.”

She added that a dance performance would only help her earn around Rs 200-300 per day and it varied according to the time and customer. They had no fixed salary. “So, we have to choose the other path to ensure we have enough food in our stomach.”

The tout came and asked what was wrong and whether the girl had refused him. When he started to shout at the girl, Arnab quickly stepped in to clear the confusion.

Citing a family emergency, he paid Rs 500 and left.

Here is a video that Arnab took at the City Heart Bar & Restaurant:


What is the problem?

Unlike red light areas which undergo regular surveillance, these dance bars and massage parlors have no proper system to monitor them. As a result, anyone can do anything in these establishments. One can easily avail marijuana, cocaine and other drugs as well as indulge in various illegal under-the-table give and take activities in such places.

Establishments such as these are on the rise. In suburban areas such as Rajarhat and Salt Lake, a dance bar or such massage parlors be found at distances even less than 2km of each other.

Many of these massage parlors are situated in residential areas which give them adequate cover. Residents are worried about the safety of young women as areas in the vicinity of such establishments lose any semblance of decency after sundown. Young women are called names and harassed with obscene gestures.

“It becomes impossible for us to step out after 11 at night,” said Saltlake resident Amal Ganguly. These new businesses act as a deterrent to normal life of the public. “Drunken brawls, problems created by biker gangs and the damage of property are daily issues. The situation gets even more aggravated on weekends!” Ganguly added.

Residents allege that complaints to police, councilors and administration fall on deaf ears and they are only assured with promises of “will see to it”, but no action is taken.

An incident in Haridevpur around a month ago saw an innocent civilian in his early 30s shot to death in a gang war which started off in a dance bar. Kolaghat also saw a similar incident on Navami night where another civilian got killed.

The government needs to pay attention to these establishments and ensure a system which can monitor them regularly to avoid any grim incidents and criminal activities. Moreover, care should be taken that such businesses are kept separate from residential areas which might otherwise prove to be a problem for other civilians and destroy the natural environment of the area.

Arnab Mitra is a Kolkata based photojournalist and reporter for NewsGram.



  1. যা যা হয়েছে এগুলো কারো অজানা নয়। এমন কি পুলিশ ও সব জানে। ও ভাগ ও পায়। আনন্দবাজার সহ বাকি পত্রিকা গুলোতে হাফ পেজ জুড়ে #পত্রমিতালি + full enjoyment এর বিজ্ঞাপন থাকে। হাইলাইট করলে এটাই যা/

  2. I have been to a number of massage parlours in kolkata & other parts of India & overseas as well. Irrespective why the masseuse choose this line, I never came across any scenario like the one described in Sao spa by the same author. I discussed with some of my mates – got the same negative result.
    I am not arguing that things don’t happen, but this is something which is very bizarre requires authenticity of the happenings…its not always that reporters are right or they want to portray to correct photo.


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Government determined to bring tribal people back by removing illegal encroachment on their lands

In a recent twist of events, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal announces the removal of illegal encroachment on lands of tribals

Tribal culture Image: Wikimedia Commons
  • Rights of the tribal people would be upheld by returning their lands which are occupied illegally
  • Taking advantage of their weaker socio-economic status, anti-social elements like terrorist organisations are luring away some of the tribal youth
  • Both Central and State Governments have been working towards making an inclusive society where rights of all communities are upheld

Guwahati, Sept 12, 2016: Reiterating that the state’s tribal society needs to be uplifted from illiteracy and poverty, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday said that all illegal encroachment on lands of tribals would be removed and the rights of these sons of the soil would be upheld at any cost.

Speaking at the release of the Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram’s (ABVKA) Vision Document at the Lions Club Auditorium here, he said this organisation has been doing commendable job in highlighting issues of the tribal society and the Vision Document would go a long way in helping the government to formulate ways for tribal uplift.

Sonowal said that tribal people live in difficult socio-economic conditions and factors like illiteracy and poverty have halted their development process.

“Taking advantage of their poverty and illiteracy, tribal people have been reduced in their own homeland and illegal migrants have encroached on their lands,” he said adding that the government is determined to bring the tribal people of the state at par with other communities.

Chhattisgarh tribal women. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Chhattisgarh tribal women.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Sonowal also said that taking advantage of their weaker socio-economic status, anti-social elements like terrorist organisations are luring away some of the tribal youth of the state and that this scenario would not be allowed to continue.

“Both Central and State Governments have been working towards making an inclusive society where rights of all communities are upheld and benefits of the government schemes reach all the people cutting across all barriers,” he added.

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Sonowal said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, Fasal Bima Yojana, etc. are all aimed to make the dream of inclusive society a reality.

He said the ABVKA Vision Document would help the government in implementing tribal welfare schemes in the coming days as extensive research has gone into it to highlight all the issues and concerns of the tribal society.(IANS)

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Stress Buster: A simple massage that saves you from disadvantages of Urban Lifestyle

Depression in women, Wikimedia
  • People living in urban areas have higher levels of psychotic illnesses such as Schizophrenia and Alzheimer
  • Many reports have proved that the greenery and lesser crowd of villages reduces stress
  • Stimulating a point between eyebrows by simply massaging it improves circulation, reduces muscle tension, and stimulates brain chemicals

More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. But researchers say that people living in urban areas have to cope with more stress and have higher levels of mood disorders and psychotic illnesses such as Schizophrenia and Alzheimer. The reason might be the busy and hectic lifestyle in cities.

People who live in the country are happier, according to the Daily Mail. Many reports have proved that the greenery and lesser crowd of villages reduces stress but with several cases of farmers committing suicide reported in newspapers  we can easily assume the stress they go through in case of failure in loan repayment or dowry system or many other possible reasons.

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Headache Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Headache Image (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The reason of stress in city people may be the social aspects of urban living — the stress of living and dealing with lots of people, and feeling more anxiety, fear and threat as a result.  The other urban factors like pollution or noise makes the condition worse.  Although, the city dwellers would never face the same stress that people in rural areas do.

Here is an exercise which can be performed by only using your own two hands and it can evaporate all your tiredness, stress and anxiety in less than 5 minutes.

By simply massaging a point between your eyebrows on the forehead can help you release stress as soon as possible

What you need to do is – find the ledge between your eyebrows on the forehead.

Then, massage this point for 45 seconds.

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Stimulating this point by simply pressing and massaging it improves circulation, reduces muscle tension, and stimulates brain chemicals known as endorphins.  Apart from just relieving stress, calming your mind, reducing headaches, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and eye pressure, this massage is very effective at alleviating pain in the sinuses and clearing nasal congestion. This massage will help you relieve headaches, stress, and other causes of interrupted sleep.

-The article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.


3 responses to “Stress Buster: A simple massage that saves you from disadvantages of Urban Lifestyle”

  1. It’s better to try out this exercise rather than taking any allopathic medicines as latter can cause side effects.

  2. Stress busters should be a good way. People living in urban ares should often visit places which are calmer, greener, less crowdy and should often meditate. This rejuvenates the body and the brain

  3. I read somewhere that people belonging to the age group of 18-33 are the most stressed. i guess if we make this simple exercise a part of our lifestyle, we will be more relaxed and will benefit from the other positive aspects of the exercise as well, like decreasing insomnia and headaches!

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Former Goa Chief Minister, Ravi Naik asks the Indian Government to Ban Nigerians from India

Calling Nigerians as “negroes”, a senior Congress leader accused the Nigerians of creating “problems” in Goa and everywhere in the country

Former Goa CM Ravi Naik. Image source:
  • According to a Congress leader, Nigerian students, in the pretext of studying are staying here and engaging in illegal activities
  • Goa CM Laxmikant Parsekar finds the lifestyle of Nigerians in Goa as “offending to the Goans”
  • Goa Tourism minister, Dilip Parulekar has accused the Nigerians of selling drugs

With already bizarre reactions of ministers on serious issues lately, the former Chief Minister of Goa, Ravi Naik has raked up another controversy by suggesting Nigerians be deported from India immediately, at a press conference in Tuesday, June 7.

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“The government of India should ban them. They should be probed. It should be checked whether many of them are here to study or for picnics or to sell drugs,” said Naik.

According to the senior Congress leader, Nigerian students, in the pretext of studying are staying here and engaging in illegal activities.  Calling them as “negroes”, he remarked that the Nigerians are creating “problems” in Goa and everywhere in the country. Naik has demanded that documents of these students must be carefully screened and checked for incongruence.

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Only a few days back, the Chief Minister of Goa, Laxmikant Parsekar had objected to the lifestyle of Nigerians in Goa as “offending to the Goans.” Tourism minister for the State, Dilip Parulekar had reverberated the same when he accused the Nigerians of selling drugs.

Rights Group Condemns Racist Attacks On Nigerians In India. Image source:
Rights Group Condemns Racist Attacks On Nigerians In India. Image source:

Naik’s comments come a few weeks after the Delhi High Court expressed anguish over the attack on Masonda Ketada Oliver, an African national, who was beaten to death in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. Following the same, about seven Africans were allegedly targeted in three separate incidents in Delhi’s Chhatarpur neighbourhood.

“There is a let up from crime against women. Now Delhi is becoming racist. There have been attacks on African nationals. We do not know what is happening in the city,” a bench of justices BD Ahmed and RK Gauba observed in the above series of incidents.

-by Maariyah, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @MaariyahSid