Dahlia inches the heavy wooden door open with both hands. A slat of sunlight falls onto the floor at her feet, brighter and more concentrated than what filters through the glass window.Out side the warmth of the sunlight rests in the crown of the tall oak tree.She looks around and does not see anyone. She starts her morning adventure.
She climbs the circulars staircase passing the beautiful portraits on the wall to the third floor. There in the prayer room, on the white marble floor grandmother sits cross-legged with her eyes closed. She has a pretty cream color saree with green border on the sides and small forest green flowers on one side. The room is very serene She stays there for a long time in front of the deities Dahlia does not want to disturb her.Instead she descends the stairs to the second floor to see her aunt. She opens another door a quarter of an inch and peeks inside. Her aunt sits straight on a chair. Her fingers caresses her pointed chin and her eyes on a sketch. There are lots of colored pencil, paint brushes and a big white paper on the square table in front of her. On the weekends the creation of nature, famous faces of politicians, freedom fighters play beautifully on the blank posters. Dahlia loves to stand in front of the pictures and just stare at them without blinking her eyes. She does not want to disturb her aunt’s concentration. Dahlia leaves closing the door softly from outside.
downstairs in the third floor the air is very alive; cooks are busy in the vast kitchen; a feeble bursts of many voices mingled with the tinkle of silver and glass floats up. Dogs are barking, delivery guy is there with vegetable and fruits. Dahlia overhears from the milkman that today is Sunday. For five years old Dahlia it is a day of excessive joy; she will go shopping with her grandmother, watch movies , buy chocolates and new coloring books. She smiles delightedly and walks to the front porch.
Outside in front of the big iron gate there is a long row of beggars; women, men, old men,mother with small children. They have worn clothes covering only half of their bodies, standing with small bags in their hands, asking for either food or money.They come in every Sunday and there is always someone to give the beggars either food or money. Dahlia’s eyes are full of kindness and sympathy. She stops and looks around with astonishment. Today there is nobody in the front not even the doorman. She wheels back inside the house, straight to the food pantry. It is a long rectangular room with different types of rice and lentils on one side and vegetables in other side. Dahlia flexes her neck towards the shelves which have all the rice jars but they are too high to reach. She pulls a stool with her small hands. Her pale face flushes. She opens the lids and carries bag full of raw rice. No one notice her. Dahlia climbs down the stairs. Through the small open iron bars of the gate she distributes the raw rice. But the line gets longer and now her bag is empty. She raises her eyes towards the hungry children and sighs. Dahlia does not want to carry the heavy bag of rice. A brilliant idea flashes in her head. Dahlia walks into her grandfather’s room. The door is wide open but he is not there. A chord of delight strikes inside her as she notices the big clear jar full of folded bills and coins on the table. Dahlia slides a chair close to the table and tries hard to hold the coin jar with both hands and to walk outside. The coin jar is almost empty when she hears a deep voice from behind. “Dahlia! What are you doing here? Where did you get this jar?” Dahlia turns back towards her grandfather. Her grandfather stands there with his hands clasped in front of him.
“Sorry, Grandpa. I did not see anyone helping the beggars and they are very hungry so..”
She continues without a pause. “ You and grandmother say all the time that we should always help the hungry and the poor. Right?”
Dahlia’s grandfather looks at her with astonishment, then smiles warmly. “ Yes, you have done the right thing but always ask other’s permission and help before doing anything. When you grow up you can do by yourself.”
Dahlia’s grandfather hugs her. And the world feels perfect right.