Out-of-Coverage Areas

           English Traslation: Pulikonda Subbachary

Telugu Original : Jupaka Subhadra

We ploughed the land

And shared the food

The sky danced in our palms

Now, we are half the sky

In that half, we are pushed

Out-of-Coverage area

We search

Not knowing where we are

Scorpions at home, snakes outside (?)

Who can understand

The agony of an Oxen’s open wounds

That the crows prod

We have become slaves 

To people who throw

Burning clothes at us

We are the lowliest of the slaves

Our Gods-Poshamma, Maisamma

Sammakka, Maan Kaali have turned

To chaff, refusing to stick to us

Carrying head loads of 

Rock-salt baskets, earning

So little that is not enough

To meet the expenses of an hour (?)

We have become ………

Broken tiles

Everywhere we are Out-of-Coverage area

How long are we to bear 

This ……looting (?)

We are like cloth bundles

On the back of dhobis

That never touch the river

We know nothing about the feel

Of heavy silk sarees

Nor are we the Sitammas

Who sits under the shade of…….

Our pallus don’t fly

Like the silk kites

Our dreams

Revolve only around

Our mud pots that hold our food

And the plates that clatter…

Ayyayyo, Dammakka

They (?) have never stepped into

The mud of our village,

Nor washed their legs

Doctors never approached

Our village borders

We go to the hospital

Only when the Dai has given up

All we have are these

Government hospitals

To live or to die that’s where we go

When labour pains

Like thunder and lightning


Like falling from a palm tree

Into a thorn bush that

Tore your skin into pieces

Like having the pot full of boiling

Rice gruel fall on your skin

And make you feel you lost

Your life…

Ear-shattering wails—waawwo! Waayyo!


We lack the wherewithal

To give birth

Even that is Out-of-Coverage area

The labour rooms

In the Government hospitals

Have become out-of coverage areas

The pregnant women’s

Pains have become out-of-coverage areas

In the darkness spread all around

Outside the hospital gates

Our women talk about their labour pains

Is there in this world

A place where there is no


In the village or the town

It’s the same everywhere

Can one sow a seed and 

Expect it to become

A sapling on its own?

Not allowed inside,

Hustled, pushed

Scorned and scolded

From the foetus in the womb

To the lifeless body

For food, for cloth

For life, for luck

For education, for……

We have become

“Out-of-Coverage area”


Inspired by the sight of Durga, and other pregnant women who get pushed around in hospitals.

English Translation: D. Vasanta 


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