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What Stories do your Kitchen Windows tell?

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
                                                     Leisure by W.H. Davis

I do 'stand and stare'! Whenever I'm in the kitchen going about my daily culinary chores, I often stop myself to stare out of my kitchen window and observe the nature's playmates outside. I love watching the busy bodies 'Katum Kutum' (the names that I've given to the squirrel pairs) who always move about in a hurry searching for nuts, if not chewing them. At times they stop for a second or two to chat with me though and ask about my day before scurrying off.

Katum- the squirrel

The names 'Katum' and 'Kutum' were originally given by Abanindranath Tagore (artist nephew of Rabindranath Tagore) to sculptures made from discarded or broken random natural items like tree branches, seeds, woods, roots etc. Later Satyajit Ray had written a short story by the same name. Though the names were given to inanimate objects, they reflect objects of nature. I loved the names for their alliterations and for the literal translation of the names that I made in my mind ('Katum Kutum' as in constantly biting or chewing at something - which the squirrels seem to do often).

'Katum Kutum' often find themselves in the company of the Sparrows, Jungle Babblers, Common Myna, Magpies, Pigeons, Crows and often fight with each other for the food. It's the occasional avian visitors that send Katum Kutum into a frenzied state as they become busy to please them. Things become normal once these occasional Avian friends fly away.

It's these occasional avian species that makes me go into a frenzied state as well, where I forget my cooking and scurry about assembling my camera to capture them in the frame before they fly away (not that I can click them properly every time despite my best efforts) to their intended destinations. My kitchen backyard and the compound behind it seem to have become intermediate resting grounds for these occasional visitors where they can rest with other nature's playmates without human interference. Even after I'm done with photographing the visitor, I still stand and stare stupefied at its beauty and admiring nature's handiwork through my kitchen window.

As the avian visitors fly away with a 'till we meet again' stare, I request them to visit more frequently and spread word to their other avian friends about this resting place so that I get to see them more frequently and also get to see their other avian species.

The occasional avian visitors
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (immature )
White-throated Kingfisher

Many stories have been told, some written and others mostly unwritten, about the views through the kitchen windows, especially by the women and wives who have inhabited them. Depending on their class and status in society, women were mostly confined in kitchens as the main cook for the family, or as supervisor of menus and other culinary requirements, or as preparers of various delicacies for special feasts, till the early 20th century. As most of their time were spent in the kitchens, the kitchen windows were the windows to the outside world for these women, which provided them with various stories through visual treats of nature, or entertainments, or gossips, and/or sometimes even suspense and adventure, in addition to refining their culinary skills. Many cookbooks have been written with 'kitchen window' in their titles but stories of what went outside the windows are majorly untold.

What stories do you see outside your kitchen windows? Please share with us.. We'd love to know...

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