For a 23-year-old, Tasneem has the air of someone who has already seen a lot of the world.
"People or professions aren't bad, it is perception that makes them bad," she says in Hindi, rapidly dusting her dainty oval face with talcum powder.
As a schoolgirl, she thought twice before stepping into a street that had seedy establishments; now, seated in a dimly-lit area outside the greenroom of Hotel Ellora in Borivali, she declares it is just as safe as any other place.
She may be annoyed at being questioned on her work, but she is happy that dance bars will blossom in the city once again after the Supreme Court verdict in their favour.
The Punjab-bred girl had joined the bar as a singer a year ago; soon, she will stop lip-syncing and begin swinging to the music.
"Ada (style) comes naturally to me," she says, raising an arched eyebrow and letting out a groomed laugh.
The added income will help cover her parents' medical bills and fund her own expenses as a Bollywood struggler: cosmetics, fancy outfits and rent for a room on Yari Road.
None of her previous jobs at shops or companies paid enough; sexual harassment was rampant.
Image: Two bar dancers at their evening performance on 6 May, 2005. Nearly 1500 dance bars, employing more than 100000 women, were shut down after the ban.
Text: Ranjita Ganesan, Business Standard