31 December 2006 — Amritapuri
This evening during darshan, Akshay came to Amma to ask her permission to remain at the Ashram for one more day—his family was planning to leave that night. He was with his friends Ramu and Eknath. All are nine or 10 years old, and have known Amma for practically their entire lives.
The boys, best of friends, of course play around the Ashram—sometimes a bit too rough. Ramu came to the stage sporting a band-aid on his chin from having bumped into a pipe while running about earlier in the day. Instead of answering Akshay’s question right away, Amma started to ask the boys some questions of her own. “Why they are naughty?”
“Because we are children. You cannot remove the naughtiness completely.”
Amma wanted to know what changes are they going to bring in their lives.
Amma asked them to speak through the microphone. “What do you want to be in life? How you are going to change in the next year?”
They were reluctant to speak, as they would be heard by everyone in the Ashram. Amma insisted. “Ramu, you first!”
Ramu: “I want to become a cricketer [cricket player], a footballer [soccer player] and a tabla player. I will do seva. I’ll obey my parents. I’ll fight less with my friends. I won’t fight.”
Eknath: “I want to be a doctor. I will obey my parents. I won’t be too naughty, or less naughty, but in the middle. I will do more work than more sleep.” Everyone laughed. But what he really meant was that he would do more work instead of sleeping more.
Akshay: “I want to be a cardiac surgeon. The heart is one of the most important parts of the body. If something goes wrong with the heart, I want to be able to fix it. I can save the people’s lives and help them. I will listen to my parents, I will do my best to obey— about 94%. I will do seva in the Western Canteen and the Juice Stall.”
The New Year was only a few hours away. What the future will bring, only Amma knows.