The feast is scheduled to commence at 11:30am but the cooks have been working solidly all morning. They have prepared a carefully planned menu consisting of puris (fried bread), three specially selected vegetable dishes, chutney and kheer. The kheer, a piping hot sweet drink of milk and rice, turns out to be a big favourite on this fine winter's day.
After the pundits leave, the Ashram is thrown open to the local community and a steady stream of more than 300 people eagerly and excitedly join us. People of all walks of life flood through the big iron gates to the Ashram until well after 3 pm in the afternoon, all eager to join the New Year celebrations. There is a friendly and charming chaos as everyone comes to share the feast being offered, and the children laugh and play enjoying themselves in the winter sun. I am so happy to see so many children, most of them from the local slums, receiving the nutritious food being served. Today, community leaders, hotel owners, shopkeepers, fruit sellers, rickshaw drivers, street people, mothers and children are all happily sharing a meal under the roof of Sai Maa’s India Ashram, our Ashram in India, bathed in the Grace of Sai Maa.
I am filled with gratitude for the enormous gift it is to have the global support of Sai Maa's communities to provide these humanitarian events for our Indian brothers and sisters.