People say a New Year holds many surprises and joy. This is the story of a tramp and a lonely girl called Maya for whom the New Year brought in many surprises. Maya belonged to a very rich family. Her parents were busy socialites and did not have any time for her. With her shy and timid nature, she didn’t have many friends too. She always longed for a companion to spend time with her.

One day, a few days before Christmas, Maya was on her way to school when she saw a tramp sitting on a bench in the park opposite her house in her prim neighbourhood. He was shabby and unkempt, wearing a worn out hat and tattered clothes. Scared, she took big, hurried strides as she went past him. She saw him every day after that. Soon she realised he was a harmless, lonely tramp.

One day Maya gathered courage and spoke to the tramp, who greeted her with a warm smile. All her fears melted away. She thought the tramp looked hungry and pulled out a sandwich and offered it. He accepted it eagerly and wolfed it down hungrily. Their friendship progressed every day. When the cold got intense, Maya asked her parents if he could stay in the large servant’s quarters behind. Her parents agreed grudgingly.

Maya’s parents were planning a huge New Year’s Eve party and were planned to invite all the rich and glamorous people. The day of the party came. As evening approached, the guests started streaming in. Maya was busy getting ready and had forgotten about the tramp. Soon the party was in full swing. The tramp was watching the house from a distance.

Suddenly his eyes caught a man climbing up a pipe. It was a thief! Nobody had noticed as everybody was busy. The tramp raised an alarm and everybody came rushing out and caught the thief. Maya thanked the tramp with a tight hug. Her parents were grateful too, and ashamed of their snooty behaviour. To make amends, the very next day they had the tacky servant’s quarters renovated. Now, the tramp had a cosy home. It was the best New Year’s gift that Maya could have asked for.

Malavika Kamath, VIII D, Bala Vidya Mandir School