Vidya was annoyed that her mother had not allowed her to enjoy her holiday. While all her friends were out doing fun stuff, she had to clean the house.

Thwack! Pain shot through Vidya'’s legs as she was hit by an empty can. A bright red spot formed on her ankle. “Today couldn’t get any worse,” Vidya thought. Instead of letting her enjoy the holiday eating ice cream or playing in the pool or going to the movies like her friends, Vidya’s mother had asked her to clean the house.

“But what do I do with all this?” Vidya had asked, standing knee deep in piles of old newspapers, rags, wire hangers, clothesline, and plastic bottles.

“I’m not sure, Vidya,” her mother said. “You take responsibility and please figure something out.”

So here she was, missing all the fun with her friends, and now, getting injured by flying cans.

“Sorry!” A little boy ran up to her and expertly manoeuvred the can with his feet. “We’re playing football.”

“With a can?” asked Vidya. “That’s dangerous! Can’t you find a ball somewhere?”

“We don’t have a ball at home,” the boy said, smiling mischievously. “This is what we always play with.”

Vidya noticed that the boy’s shorts were held together with a safety pin, and that he wasn’t wearing any shoes.

A plan

“Hey, akka,” the boy said, interrupting her thoughts. He was pointing at the pile of junk. “What are you doing with all of that stuff?”

“Throwing it out,” said Vidya.

“Why are you throwing it out?” he asked. “I could sew those rags together and make a ball. And my sister could make a kite out of newspaper. Oh, and we can make a toy car out of the plastic bottle?”

Vidya couldn’t believe her ears. Had this little boy, who was probably in Std II, just solved her problems? Not only had he thought of something to do with all the junk, it sounded like a great way to spend the afternoon. Maybe today could be saved after all!

“What’s your name?” Vidya asked.

“Amir,” said the boy.

“Amir, go bring your friends,” Vidya said. “And let's get started!”

A few minutes later, Amir, Vidya, and a group of kids from Amir’s neighbourhood sat in Vidya’s house, making toys. Amir showed Vidya how to make a toy car with a plastic bottle, bottle caps, and wire. Amir’s sister folded newspapers and made them into kites. And Vidya stitched rags together to make balls.

By evening, all Amir’s friends had a new toy that he or she was proud of, and all the junk was gone.

“Great work!” Vidya said, giving Amir a high five. “You’re pretty smart for someone so little.”

“I’m not just smart, I’m great at football!” Amir said as he kicked the ball.

“We’ll see about that,” said Vidya, chasing after him, and thinking that the best part of the afternoon was that she had a new friend.