[VoxSpace Exclusive] The Story Of Maria Avreliya – A Russian Student Trapped In The World Of Web Porn

Early 2016 – My First Introduction With Maria Through My Work On Debonair

………….The green screen. The scent of cigarettes and of faint vodka. Like a famous filmmaker said many years ago “The Pungency in an artist’s room is directly proportional to the creativity flowing out”. And so, Rajesh Master asks me to sit on a stool in a corner, as he pulls up another while lighting up a cigarette. He offers me a puff, and you never deny a good drag, especially when your mind has been just fucked up with what’s happening around. Moments later I see Maria. And once again, I come to a loss of words to describe her. Tall and gorgeous, this foreigner is every part a model as she is a porn star. She’s wearing a crop top and a roughed-up jean. An air of confidence about her makes her even more glamorous and diva-ish. The cameraman signals to her and she swiftly pours herself a peg of vodka. After she gulps it, amid seven men, she undresses to bare. She then climbs up the king-sized bed and drapes herself in a thick blanket.

All the lights go off, except for the shooting area, as the silver screens are used as reflectors to further brighten up the scene.

“………………….Maria owes us 7 lakhs. We have opened an account for her (with fake documents) and are saving her fee there, every month, after giving her some amount for her personal expenses. I can’t tell you how we get Visas. But we get them. That’s all..” – Rajesh Master speaks about her, as she readies herself for a shoot.

…………..Come with me, Rajesh master says abruptly standing up, as the cameraman says cut. The two nude porn models sit cross-legged on the bed and start talking animatedly about something. Rajesh Master takes me to them. As I smile and say hello, Master casually puts his hand on Maria’s left breast. He twitches and flicks her tit and presses it like it were a sponge. Appallingly, she is entirely unmindful of the act. As my mind tries to hold strong onto my conscience, Master asks me to touch her breast. Maria looks at me with her deep brown eyes and gives a hesitant grin. One of the most taxing moments that I ever faced, came about in the next few seconds. I held her breast in my hand.

(Editor’s Note: For the clear understanding of the above excerpt, we humbly suggest the readers go to the link provided here, wherein the writer for the first time meets Maria Avreliya. This is her story after all)

August 2016 – Conversations With Maria Briefly Afterwards

It took me six months since our first meeting to convince Maria to meet me. Although I had known parts of her story through various sources, during my research of Porn Industry here in the city, it had always been intriguing to know more about this woman. Not because she was the only Russian who came around from Jerusalem to work in the Adult Film Industry here in India, but because she was a representative of a much larger community. A community of trapped, directly or indirectly, foreign individuals who were robbed of their credentials and were forced to stay back in India. Maria was just someone I knew, who was the classic example of the same. However, from what I heard from others, her story was a bit different, as you, my reader, shall evidence by the end of this article. My intrigue prompted me to bug her through all my contacts for an interview. For six months her reply remained consistent. A stern and strong No!. By the end of July, her reply came with a bit of hopeful pronunciation. ‘Why?’ she’s asked over the mail. A small window, but a highly workable one. As I sat down to explain to her why, I remembered the last time I saw her. A look of detached resignation to the world around her, that was her aura, as multiple men, got into bed with her. And therefore, my reply just sought to know her story. Perhaps my explanation was not valid enough when again a rejection came about.

However, in the second week of August, I received a mail from Maria, mentioning just a place and a time. On a pleasant Saturday morning, I drove around the City Center block to reach a Café Coffee Day Lounge, ten minutes earlier than what was supposed to be our meeting time. I didn’t expect Maria to be already there. But then she was. Looking entirely different than what I had remembered as. She’d worn a pair of thick-rimmed black spectacles, which contrasted her blue eyes vividly. Her hair had changed. It was longer and darker and seemed more voluminous than earlier. She wore a long red skirt, with a small purse slung across her belt, and a black kurta, which had strong and thick embroidery on it. She’d let her hair open, and was sitting beside a window, reading something on her phone. It took me a moment to register her new look, but eventually, I did bring myself up to greet her.

She stared at me for a moment, and then a sense of realization came about her eyes. She smiled and asked me to sit. For a few moments the awkwardness of our previous meeting played its part. We asked each other random questions about weather and whatnot. After half a cup of coffee, I knew I had to initiate my interview in some manner or the other. And from experience, I’d always found it easier to start with a direct question than perhaps beat around the bush…

In one of our talks, Kristen (a mutual friend) had spoken highly about you. She said that you like Hyderabad more than Goa or Jerusalem. Let’s start there? What do you see here?

How do you know Kristen?

Kristen and I met during a writing workshop in Mumbai. Been friends ever since.

Oh…I know Kristen from Goa. She is a good friend. She helps me a lot with all the things here in the city. She is like that, I think, to everyone. Goa I don’t like much. I do not have friends there. I like the beaches there, but nothing else is good, meaning, errmm, there is nothing else to do. It has very less of life. Yerslam, meaning Jerusalem, is home. So it is boring. Nothing new there too. I have family there. I went there last year, but couldn’t stay for long. People are always fighting there. It is peaceful sometimes, but most of the times, people are in friction. Friction, you know, like edge. They are on edge. I don’t like it there. Hyderabad is a good simple place. It is peaceful, and you can be lost and no one will disturb here. People here, they don’t poke their noses into others lives…

Except people like me…We poke..

Huh?

Nevermind. Please continue…

Yeah. That is why I like Hyderabad. It is a proper city and still it is not arrogant or demanding. And I have friends here. Like Kristen. Through her, I know many more good friends, who always help me out.

Since we mentioned Goa, would you want to talk about your stay there and how did you end up here in Hyderabad? Perhaps your story before Hyderabad?

You want me to talk about how I got into, errm, what I am doing now?

Somewhat, yes.

Hmm. Then I should speak about my hometown in Novosibirsk, is that what you are asking?

Sure (there was clearly a bridge to be built here in terms of our communication and conversations)

I do not understand, how you would find my childhood interesting, but since you are asking I’ll tell. My father was an engineer in Novosibirsk and my mother used to sell cloth. We were five sisters. I was the second eldest in my family. The youngest two live in Berlin, and the one immediately younger to me stays in Jerusalem. My elder sister recently died of cancer. She was a good woman. After my mother died, when we were young, my elder sister got married to a brick trader, and they used to take care of us. Two years after my mother passed away, My Elder sister, took us all to Jerusalem, to start a new shop there for my brother-in-law. Bricks were in demand in those days in Jerusalem, as new construction sites were being taken up. My brother-in-law had lived in Jerusalem before and he had a good idea about the business.

In 1999, when we moved to Jerusalem, we were welcomed by two or three families who had also come from Russia to settle down there. The first shop my brother-in-law put was in yitskshak square. All of us sisters would help him make trades, manage shop and accounts, like that. Our father stayed with us for a year at the start but returned back to Novosibirsk eventually. My brother-in-law got us four sisters admitted to Horev School. It was, near only, meaning like five miles away from our home. The school, it was good though. It allowed us to study as much as we wanted. After school, I used to learn Guitar as well. By 2004, I was done with my school and was looking to move out of my home. One of my friends, Nazeema, had moved to Tel Aviv and had asked me to come to stay with her. She had enrolled in Arts, and it was my passion to take the same course. But I was also interested in Music and wanted to get into Music College in Tel Aviv.  I could not afford both the courses. So, I took Arts for two years and worked as a tutor for kids to raise some money.

By 2008, Nazeema got married to one of our friends, Mevlat, and moved to Rehovot to start her own family. I had a couple of relationships in the college, but nothing got to the stage of marriage. I didn’t…

Her flow of recounting her memories was disturbed by a phone call. I could understand that it was from one of her friends, with whom she talked in broken Hindi. Although she seemed a bit agitated on picking up the call, it didn’t take her long to come back to being calm. She spoke about some delivery which was expected, as I turned to my cup of coffee, with an intention to complete it in one gulp. Have you ever miscalculated a gulp? Just an unrelated thought. By the time I had completed my cup, Maria was off the call, and was texting something…

So, yeah. Yes. By 2009, I had money to enrol in my music classes. One year into the college, I was part of a band called ‘AltChord’. It was a good band with original fusion tracks. We started by performing small shows within the college at first, and then in separate venues in Tel Aviv. Alternate Music was the rage in those times. I used to live with my partner, Elijah, at a small place we brought at Hannah House. The first show we got booked outside Tel Aviv was in Cairo in 2010. After that, one show led to another. And our band was called to perform at Jaipur, India for Kerome International 2011 for a huge hotel chain company. The next year, that is in 2012, we were again called to perform, but we couldn’t go as Elijah and I had just broken up, and he had decided to leave the band to pursue his own career. In 2013, we found a replacement, but the organizers had cancelled the show in Jaipur. However, one of their associates was planning a concert in Goa that year. That’s where the band ‘AltChord’ came to India in July 2013.

(Music Bands Of Tel Aviv – Image For Representative Purposes)

So, it was Music which brought you here? When you say July 2013, did you plan to stay for a while in India till the music festivals kicked off? I mean to ask, what was the plan like?

Music festivals were in November in December, yes. But we were called for some company shows. Not for the outside public, but for internal organization. The plan I think was to perform in July and August and return to Tel Aviv. We had planned to come back again in December again. But that never happened. In July itself we disbanded. In one of the shows, the replacement of Elijah, performed not so great and we had to remove him from the band. In that time, we had already agreed to do three shows in August. So, we had to call for local artists to collaborate. That is where I met Sujan. Sujan was working here in Hyderabad, as a software engineer, but had left his job to become an artist. He applied to be a part of our band, and we did like him and his passion for music. We performed a couple of shows with him and they went well. In the meantime, a Russian businessman by name, Andrei, paid for us to stay through September, and perform at his shack at South Goa. It was a lot of money, and we stayed back. Maybe that is where everything changed. We should’ve gone back to Tel Aviv.

We stayed. In that time, Sujan and I became good friends. He knew Goa better than any of us, and he could talk in multiple languages. He was very helpful to us during our stay. After one of the shows at the shack, the owner Andrei tried to misbehave with me, and a big argument took place. My band members and Sujan tried valiantly to make the situation better, but Andrei was highly upset that I hadn’t given in to his advances. The following morning, our rooms at the hotel nearby were raided and all our possessions were robbed. Our passports and visas were gone. The police came by and started accusing us of smuggling and selling drugs. They took the other two band members, Yosef and Jimmy, into custody. Because of Sujan’s contacts, they didn’t arrest him or me. For a week we tried to somehow get back our belongings back and also tried to get our bandmembers out. But nothing seemed to work. After two weeks, we had no place to go, meaning, the police were disallowing us to stay at any hotel. It was then that Sujan suggested that we come here to Hyderabad. He knew some lawyers here, and we could go back to Goa with them……

As Maria went on about explaining her tryst with Indian Police, we realized that our cups of coffee had been empty for a long while. I signalled for a refill and checked my recorder that was happily recording everything from Maria’s story to horns & beeps of the vehicles outside. A call burred on Maria’s phone again. This time it seemed urgent and important. She seemed agitated and stayed so. We had arrived at a point in her story where one could sense a new chapter of her journey. In these intermittent phone calls, I could sense that I was never going to know the whole story. Perhaps some major parts, but not in its entirety. Simply because her story, as we spoke, was far from over. One thing was clear, this story was going to be longer than I had initially imagined. And perhaps more dramatic too.

(Concerts At Goa – Image For Representative Purposes)

October 2016 – Lights, Cameras, Men, Women, And An A Dimming Essence

The city is good. It’s beautiful but also good – she’d said. In going through my recordings of our previous conversations, I observed a peculiar thing about the way she talked. Everything was good. Nothing was bad. When it was good it was just good. When it was bad, it was all the reasons why it was. Good had no explanation. Bad had many. The city was good. It was beautiful but also good. Maria’s world, it seemed was kind of simple. In this understanding, or at least trying to understand, a small conversation popped up in my mind, of the first time I met her in a small eerie green room where she was shooting for an Adult Film. Rajesh Master, who had introduced me to her, had asked me, whilst explaining the Porn significance in our lives, whether I’d like to fuck Maria given the chance.

“Tell me if given a chance, wouldn’t you want to fuck the brains out of her, right now? Answer this honestly and I’ll answer your next query…” Rajesh Master had asked

“Yes..” I had answered.

This same question popped in my mind again, now after I had known at least half her story, as I sat down to transcribe our earlier conversations. Would I? Interestingly the answer was clear. I still would. I would still fuck the brains out of her. Nothing changed. I was a man, like any other. She was a woman, like no other I’d met. The conclusion was simple.

The next time I met her was in a drive-in, in Jubilee Hills. She dressed a bit informally than the last time. Perhaps it was the dark of the night that she felt it easier to be unaware. A torn jean with a croquet top made her look taller than the usual. It was already lovelier to see that she was an inch taller than I was. The first thing she said as we ordered a sandwich at one of the outlets was – “Are you Ok. You don’t look good?”. I didn’t understand the question. I was good, as far as I knew.

Goa gave way to Hyderabad. The last time we spoke, you mentioned that Sujan had assured you of getting some legal help from Hyderabad and returning to Goa. Would you want to pick up there?

Yes. After trying hard to get my band members out, and failing to do so, Sujan and I, decided that we should come to Hyderabad. In this time, we got close to each other. He felt that his dream of becoming a singer had been taken away from him. I felt responsible for getting him into this mess. But I had nowhere else to go and therefore we moved into a flat that one of Sujan’s friends owned in Madhapur. Sujan then started to approach lawyers for my sake, but no one seemed to be interested in helping us. Either they wanted a huge price or were too afraid to go to Goa. And the case was of drugs smuggling. We had to wait helplessly.

By December 2013, we found a lawyer who could take up our case. However, by that time, it was already six months since my band members were arrested. And they had confessed to having smuggled drugs to get a shorter jail term unwilling to bear the torture of Goa police. They were each sentenced to four years of imprisonment, a reduced sentence from nine years initially. Since my passport was gone, and the renewal would take considerable time, I had nowhere to go. I had to live in Hyderabad for as long as it took. Sujan had in the meanwhile found a job as an analyst in a software company. As we were in a relationship by then, he used to pay for my living as well. But it was imperative that I find a job to support my expenses too. I looked better than what I look now (she chuckles) and therefore I started taking photoshoot and modelling assignments.

I was new and a foreigner and thereby I would say it was kind of easy to get into it. This was also through Sujan, who introduced me to a couple of short filmmakers, who in turn got me some photo shoot assignments. The pay initially was a bit low. But eventually, it became good. In this while, I did a few advertisements for IPL merchandise as well. In one of the after-parties during IPL season, I met Kristen. She was an Australian but was living here for the past seven years. She had a similar story to mine. Maybe because of that, we connected immediately and became good friends. At that time she was in a relationship with a film music director. She had many friends in the city, from the film industry and modelling industry. So, she used to pass on any assignments she heard of. Things seemed to get better, as financially Sujan and I were kind of sorted. We were in love. And we planned our life together. Sujan was much interested in visiting my family in Jerusalem.

One year into our relationship, we decided to make a fake passport. I was missing home, and even Sujan had grown bored of his job. We decided the best thing to do was to go back to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. The problem was we had very little savings to make the shift. So we gave ourselves another year to sort things enough to make the move. I started accepting more assignments, almost on a day to day basis, and Sujan started his own tech support business from home. By end of 2014, we were earning left and right, but also saving. In the meantime, Sujan met a person named Kiran, who wanted to start a gifts shop in Begumpet. Kiran wanted to take Sujan as a partner for an initial contribution of 10 lakhs. Sujan came up with the idea that he would invest 10 lakhs in the company and help to establish it for one year. After that, we’d sell off our investment in the company at a profit and leave for Tel Aviv. That way we would earn much higher than we could dream of making through our day jobs. The only catch was we didn’t have so much money present.

Our orders were processed and delivered. Sandwichs with two Coke tins. We walked up the stair to take seats at the restaurant area of the drive-in. As was expected, people stared at us for a while, and by us I mean Maria. Of course. In talking to her for this long, I’d forgotten that she looked different. Very different. That’s the thing right. Once you get to know a person, they stop looking distant and unique. They become more of your own. We took a bench to the far end of the corridor and resumed our conversation.

We took a loan basically. I had some contacts thanks to my assignments. Kristen knew a money lender too and had a credit card as well. So somehow, we raised around 10 lakhs needed for the investment in the gift shop. We paid Kiran the amount and we were promised that the gift shop would be opened in like ten to fifteen days. Ten days later, however, when I reached home from one of my photoshoots, Sujan had left. All his clothes, accessories, laptop and everything that he bought, was gone. I remained numb all through the night, conflicting within myself that I wasn’t cheated. When in fact I was. He was gone. Practically gone. His mobile went dead, his friends didn’t know where he was. His clients had no idea where he was. And Kiran was nowhere to be reached. It was plain that my money was gone. Almost about 10 lakhs, gone in a week. I couldn’t even face my assignments anymore in the state I was in. It seemed that everything was planned from before. Maybe he never liked me. Maybe he was the reason for my Goa mess. It was a long shot plan, but somehow to me at that time, it felt like I was joining the dots correctly.

(Image For Representative Purposes)

10 Lakhs? That is a huge amount of money? Did you try to file a complaint with the Police? How about Kristen?

Kristen was my only friend in the whole chaos. Almost a month later, people who had passed me the loan, started asking me for their money back. Kristen had some savings with her, about two lakhs, which she paid to the creditors, buying me some more time. And Police? That was not an option. They would again dig back to Goa and being a foreigner, the blame would be mine. People always assume that I am rich. They try to rip me off. Police were no exception. So, no I couldn’t go to the police. Maybe Sujan knew that. I think he did. That is when Kristen introduced me to Madam Mohan. She offered to help me out, as she had Kristen a couple of years ago. She ran the site, Debonair. You already know about it more than I do. So yeah I started with Madam Mohan from early 2015. And I am still repaying for my mistakes. Although thankfully my loan had been cleared.

Kristen tells me that you planned to go back home last year? How did that work for you?

Yes. I did think of going back. Last year, my band members were released on bail. I paid for their bail amount. After spending four years in total, their passports were renewed by the officials, and they’d planned to leave for Tel Aviv finally. On my part, owing to my films, I had enough money to leave back home. I had my passport ready. Rajesh Master arranged for that. For a long time, I wanted to go. But then I didn’t want to. I don’t know why. After three years, it didn’t seem worth it. I could get in touch with my family, and one of my sisters visited me. They had their own families now. My father never really cared about me. He had no idea that I was India. So what exactly was I returning to? I didn’t know. Here I had friends. I had a job. Whatever it is, it is still my job. It gives me good money. To me all that mattered. So yes, I asked my band members to leave without me. I now plan to get into music here in Hyderabad. Maybe one day I will. Perhaps be a part of a new band or make my own band. And now that I have the choice of leaving, I think I have never been more free.

March 2017 – The Bohemian Tragedy – A Writer And His Muse

After having a topsy-turvy relationship for four months, we decided to part ways. I was a writer and she was an actress. She continued her work and so did I. The problem was our worlds were incredibly different than we ever thought them to be. Initially, the conversations we had brought us close, but eventually they could no longer be accommodated. Whilst entering a courtship in December 2016, we decided that the moment our lives and work started cutting into each other, we had to leave. And that moment came in March. Yes, there was mutual respect and admiration, but to accommodate the two worlds was getting a bit too much. She enjoyed her work with Adult films, and I loved my work for digging out stories. A bit too much for the good of us. The last I saw of Maria was in June 2017, when VoxSpace first brought out the story called Debonair, which featured a small part of her story. I felt responsible to let her know before publishing it online. And she felt happy that I did.

By September 2017, a planned vacation brought me to Goa. As part of my research on the smuggling of Narcotic Drugs by Russian Mob in Goa, I was drawn into the world of crime syndicates. During my stay at Goa, for more than a couple of months, I found much about the Russian Mob and their chain of command. Their trade routes, handlers and peddlers and the whole cycle was an intricate design, and it brought to me to meet, a person called Jimmy, who worked for someone called Andrei. And Andrei owned a shack in South Goa. In weeks following, I came to understand that Maria was a part of this very Mob, and Jimmy was her boyfriend some two years back.

Opposing her story, Jimmy told me that Maria and he had visited India many times, between the periods of 2010 and 2013. She was a peddler for music concerts and parties held in Goa every year in the month of December. In 2013, her racket was busted and she was arrested by the Goa police. There at her bail was provided by someone called Sujan, a businessman from Hyderabad. Jimmy said that Sujan had met her during one of the parties and they had become close like that. She had then shifted base to Hyderabad. By 2016, it was known that she’d frequent Goa every couple of months. One could assume that she wasn’t exactly out of the game. On realizing all of this, suddenly and rather stupidly after having a relationship with her, somehow it all made sense to me. A tragic story for a beautiful woman. There was no reason for it to not be true. But something didn’t really change for me. Somehow it didn’t really matter. As I sat down to write the last few lines for this dramatic tale of Maria, one query popped up in my head for the second time.

“Tell me if given a chance, wouldn’t you want to fuck the brains out of her, right now? Answer this honestly and I’ll answer your next query…” Rajesh Master had asked many months back.

And I always had an answer. Perhaps, sometimes it was just an honest one.

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