Living… in Mumbai, under the close supervision of the nefarious gangster Maman. It has been this way ever since he plucked her off the street as a child. She doesn’t have any friends. She is essentially a slave who exists to generate income for Maman.
Profession… whatever Maman says. Early on, Maman has Latika working as a beggar at stoplights, wearing an eyepatch over her right eye to garner additional sympathy from passers-by. Once she is old enough to be “employed” as a sex worker – which is to say not very old at all – Maman moves her off the street, into an apartment on Pila Street that she is seldom allowed to leave.
Interests… pranks. Latika demonstrates a knack for mischief from a young age when she harvests a batch of chili peppers and puts them in the pants of an unsuspecting young boy named Salim while they sleep at Maman’s compound.
Relationship Status… in love, but single. Latika meets Salim’s brother Jamal after he invites her to take shelter from the rain in his boxcar, and the two of them hit it off instantly. “You’re a sweet boy, Jamal,” she tells him. They agree that when they have made enough money from begging, they will get a house together on swanky Harbour Road. But Salim and Jamal are able to escape from Maman’s compound, and she worries that he’s forgotten about her, and she’ll never see him again.
Challenge… escaping from Maman. But given her financial value to him, that would be unlikely. She dreams of finding Jamal again, and starting a new life. But she knows the chances that a girl like her will ever see that kind of happiness.
Personality… sweet-hearted, smart, and innocent. As a child, she was the image of kindness. She rescues an infant when young Salim threatens to drop it. Now, her innocence is long gone, but she retains her good heart, and bravely endures the atrocities she’s subjected to.
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