Posh is the key word in the trade with upscale neighbourhoods of South Mumbai like Pedder Road, Nepeansea Road, Marine Drive, the Gateway of India, Colaba, Juhu and the numerous nightclubs, pubs and discos dotting the city, forming the areas of operation. Most of the gigolos live in the Lokhandwala Complex in suburban Mumbai.
The typical client is a thirty-something woman, reasonably rich, whose husband is either working abroad, constantly travelling or is too tied up with his profession to perform the duties of a husband.
Gigolos are raking in an average income of Rs. 80 to 90,000 a month, with the more seasoned veterans commanding anything upto 1.5 lakh per month. Depending on the session which may range from a single woman to groups of five or six, the charges may vary between 20 to 25,000. On nightly basis, it works out to about 5 to 10,000 per night.
The thriving trade is believed to employ no less than 5,000 gigolos in Mumbai alone, catering to a clientele of almost 25,000 women. Per day the trade generates a business of Rs. 1 crore.
The typical gigolo would be between 20 to 35 years and their trademark sign is a red handkerchief wratted around one hand or as a bandana on the head.
Jimmy is one example of this new breed. Reflecting back, he says it was pure accident that led him to discover the trade. It was late one night at around 11 pm when after a party, he was waiting for a bus at Pedder Road. A lady of about thirty, pulled up beside him and offered him a lift. She then took him to her place in Bandra and began by offering him a drink. One thing led to another and they ended up having sex. After the act, when he was ready to leave her house, she offered him a sum of Rs. 2,000 to his amazement and insisted that he accept the money. After another three or four encounters with her, his phone number began to be circulated and soon he was into the business which now fetches his approximately Rs. 20,000 per night.
Coordinators and agents play a key role in the business. They arrange to have the gigolos sent to the clients. The normal procedure involves showing photographs of the men to fix the deal. An agent’s commission can initially be in the vicinity of 60% of the fee, but gradually, this goes down to about 20% with regulars.
Usually it is the homes of the clients where these encounters are staged, but hotels and other flats may also be possible venues. Many of the ladies have an understanding with the watchmen in the buildings, who look the other way and ask no questions.
An agent in his interview makes the startling revelation that many of the gigolos happen to be holders of titles like Mr. Bombay and Mr. Delhi, in addition to models and aspiring Bollywood actors. The key factor is that they are constantly in need of money.
Corporate houses and movie producers also play a crucial role in the business, with many of them in need of services of this nature on a regular basis. Actresses form a part of the clientele for whom the producers make the arrangements. Apart from photo albums, photos are also available on CDs and websites. In most cases, when a client call is made, they are asked to log on to a specific website to strike a deal.
The clientele that is entirely made up of women, tend to be between the ages of 30 to 50 years. An agent usually fixes deals at the rate of 2 or 3 gigolos per day. This translates into an income of Rs. 1.5 to 2.5 lakhs per week on commissions alone. As with all businesses in the country and elsewhere, festive season sees a sharp rise in demand with Navratri, Xmas and New Year’s Eve being the most popular.
Another gigolo, who goes by the name of Monty describes his introduction to the trade. About two years ago, he encountered a flat tyre while driving. A lady driving by, stopped to offer help. Then the usual route of taking him home, offering a drink and indulging in sex followed. After an entire night of sex, the lady offered him Rs. 10,000 as a reward for the satisfaction he gave her. Soon his phone number began to be circulated and he was in business.
About his clients, Monty says many of them live on their own and heavy drinking is fairly common. Some of them even border on mental instability and dealing with them can sometimes prove daunting.
A client in the secret profession throws light on kitty parties featuring gigolos. She mostly indulges herself when her husband is away. She has no qualms about stating that like men, women have their share of requirements which need to be fulfilled. However she believes in taking precautions and generally avails of the services only through agents.
Shocking as the idea may seem, there is no reason why a business of this nature should not flourish in the hustle and bustle of the big city. With money to splurge, young men ready to do anything for a price, neglected wives and opportunistic agents, the business of gigolos on hire is but another variation of the principle of supply and demand.