The View

by Prarthana JA 

The view from the kitchen window was miniscule but pretty.

Urvi could see a patch of sky through a single branch of a gulmohar tree that snaked across.

That is all.

The window was small but large enough for the neighbors cat to get in and out.

Come morning, and a pile of dirty dishes waited in the sink in sentinel silence. She broke it by switching on an old radio, which made SP Balasubramaniam sound scratchy.  On the stove, the kettle swung into action, with bubbling hot tea.  The mixie rattled aloud, the grinder quaked, the pots and pans clattered. The kitchen at the back of the house came alive, much before the whole house did.

On wintery mornings, a little bit of sun danced through the window and nestled around Urvi. One corner of a cloud sailed away while she diced and sliced the vegetables. On sultry afternoons, a gust blew in and cooled her down a little. Next month there was the promise of an electric chimney. This month’s expenditure was for buying a new TV. On clear days, Urvi could also see a faraway horizon spiked with skyscrapers, and a hazy fog settling over them.

It was quite pretty.

But the problem with the window was this. It overlooked the only balcony in the house and served as the utility area. There, the washing machine and the clothesline did their gigs. Each time Urvi put the clothes out to dry, she left enough space between two pieces of clothing so she could look out the kitchen window. There were two other windows in the house. One in the bedroom, but Raghu draped it with a heavy curtain.  He liked the room dark. The other window in the hall overlooked the street, there Raghu and his father read the newspaper and their books and talked.  Urvi spent most of her time in the kitchen anyway. So the kitchen window was the only one with a view she could use.

Somedays, when guests stayed over, the clothesline was full and she couldn’t see outside, the hours were too long and the chores too hard.  Even SP Balasubramaniam couldn’t cheer her enough with his euphonious voice. Almost every day, Raghu would dry out his towels right opposite the window and forget his wife’s request for a view.

“You ruffian,” she’d scold, “Take that towel away”

“Aiyyo,” he’d say and pull it aside.

He always forgot and did it over and over again, but never failed to apologize.

One day she threw a tumbler at him.

On days when she was too tired to scold or didn’t have even a minute to spare, she’d let it be.

Soon Raghu’s father came to live with them. A serious, mysterious gentleman. Urvi was quite timid around him. In all her years of marriage, they had but exchanged a few pleasantries. When he put his towels and dhotis out to dry in front of the window, she never mentioned it nor moved them. He was old and frail and she felt inclined to humour his age.

She was quite content with a few days a week when she could still feel the sun and the breeze and see the red flowers against the corners of patchy clouds.

The radio stopped working one day. It was old and had been through many repairs already.

“Don’t you fret darling,” Raghu said. “I’ll get you one next month”

“That’s what you said about the chimney, it’s been six months,” she rolled her eyes.

“You just wait,”

She waited. But three months later she learned to hum her own tunes while she worked. One could hear her singing to herself in the mornings over the kitchen sink.

The kitchen at the back of the house still kept up. Dishes filled up the sink again, and her brain rattled with the details of the next menu. Once again, the cooker whistled, knives danced, the little branch at the window trembled in the wind.

It was their fifth wedding anniversary. Night came, and the little kitchen was winding up. The last room in the house to dim. A slice of the moon appeared and bade Urvi goodnight. She threw in the towel and went to bed.

Raghu was waiting for her with a surprise. A gold chain. He slid it around her neck and admired his wife in the mirror.

“Omg,” she squealed. “But this is too expensive, can we even afford it?”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said, “Gold is always an investment, never a waste.”

“That is true,” she said and put it carefully away.

The father-in-law was visiting relatives in the coming week.  Raghu had a conference to attend in the next town. Urvi ironed and packed clothes into two suitcases. She was going to have the house to herself for three whole days.

Morning came.

Urvi rose with the sun, went to the kitchen, boiled her tea, cooked herself a simple breakfast of upma, and stood over a smaller pile of dishes. Then she swept the house, scrubbed the floor, and took down all the curtains for a wash. It was afternoon by the time the curtains were scrubbed and hung out to dry.  For lunch, while making a one-pot meal, she made a note to clean out the upper shelves of the kitchen.

Humming her tunes, she went about dusting every nook and cranny.

Tomorrow she must remember to change the cushion covers, the bedsheets, and importantly, hem the table cloth, something she had been putting off. Now that there wasn’t elaborate cooking to do, she’ll have time for it.

The humming and dusting went on.

Outside, the gust went the other way because of the curtains she had hung out, right in front of the window, the sunshine was averted, and the gulmohar branch with all its scarlet flowers, went on trembling in the wind.


About the Author:

Prarthana JA is the author of “The View” and a stay-at-home mom, after almost a decade with an IT firm as a Corporate Writer. She quit her job to finish her first novel and has had little luck with a toddler in the house. Yet she plods on with determination and no regrets whatsoever.


  1. Prashant Venugopal

    This is so beautiful. Innocent, and beautiful!

    • Not bored!
      Very interesting!
      My wishes too!…..

      Waiting for next….next……………..~~

  2. Your flair for writing is very much evident in this short story and I am sure you will publish your magnum opus in near future.
    The little one and hubby will sure inspire and encourage you , I hope.
    My best wishes!
    Ganesh. Auditor
    Ways and Means.

  3. Prarthana, this is quite interesting. I enjoyed reading. Good luck for your novel.

  4. I always enjoyed reading your articles. This is probably the first fictional piece I have read and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It transported me to Urvi’s world! Waiting eagerly for your book.

  5. Abijit Radhakrishna

    I’m afraid I didn’t like this one tiny bit. That’s right. I LOVED IT! A simple, yet poignant, account of a woman’s little pleasures, ones which might not mean much to anyone but her. And that’s the beauty of it; that it’s deeply personal. Keep writing, Prarthana!


  6. I really enjoyed reading and very interesting and beautiful…
    All the best for your future projects.

  7. The detailing Is interesting and poetic…
    Surprised at the end…

    • Breezy and well written . Enjoyed reading it . ? Would love to read more so keep writing .

  8. Nice! The detailing is awesome…can picture the ambience. Well written…and waiting to read the novel now?

  9. The begining of the story is really awesome.
    You are spontaneous.