June 2, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: She (Originally written in Telugu by Md. Khadeer Babu in Metro Kathalu & translated to English by C V Subhashri)

2 min read

Subhashri translates a powerful story originally written in Telugu by Md. Khadeer Babu that tells us about the struggles of women in a country like India.

She felt as if the whole city was labelled HE.

On the roads, in the streets, in unseen corners, on bare walls…

Someone stopped his car at a distance. Dressed in a tucked full-hands shirt and shoes, he got out of the driver’s seat, crossed to the other side, and using the car as a shield, straightening his shirt, standing right there…Ah…what relief!

She felt like running to him and begging him. “Sir, sir, please. Could you just keep the car that way for a second…I’ll be done with my business too.” No way. How could she say that? Could anyone ask for such a thing at all? And even if she did ask, would he agree?

Her belly was swollen. On their first night together after marriage, as she gulped down a jug of water instead of the customary milk, he had asked in jest, “Are you a woman or a camel?” Heaven knows when he noticed it, but when he told her later that her belly was too big, she was embarrassed. Mother had never given her water in a glass. She would admonish her brothers, “Give the girl water in a jug, a glass is not enough for her.” Neighbours used to say, we have never seen a girl who drinks water with such relish. There was a well in the house with sweet-tasting water and coconut trees all around, yielding more than enough water to drink. And of course, there was no dearth of buttermilk when visiting anyone. She had never felt the need to be parsimonious when it came to drinking water. Until she came to the city. Now, she had to ration her intake.

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