The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond describes life in the hill community of Gharwal, where common people rise to heroic status while others are given chances to atone for their transgressions. The novel explores a range of emotions, such as kindness, jealousy, heroism, etc., through its different yet simple characters.
The setting of the story
The story takes place in a Garhwal village in Himachal Pradesh. It centers around a young girl named Binya (Binyadevi), who is around ten years old. She resides with her mother, brother, Bijju (Vijay), and other members of their low-income family. She likes being on her own. Binya belonged to the mountains. Thus dark forests and lonely hilltops held no terrors for her.
Her town, which was five miles away from the village, was visited by many tourists from all over India. She has two cows named Neelu and Gori. She often lets them graze on their own and searches for them in the evening if they don’t come back.
The tourists and the Blue Umbrella
The story opens with Binya looking for her cows, Neelu and Gori. While looking for them, she comes upon a party of picnickers. They are from the plains who had come there for their holidays. She is drawn to their antics and is particularly taken with a blue umbrella. The umbrella was like a flower. It was so beautiful that it almost cast a spell over her. The picnickers choose to interact with Binya after observing her naive curiosity with the umbrella.
The woman liked the leopard-claw pendant Binya was wearing around her neck. The woman wanted to trade for the pendant. They offered Binya money, but she refused to take the money. When they asked what she wanted, she pointed toward the Blue Umbrella. The woman was unwilling to give her Blue Umbrella. But she finally agreed and decided to trade the pendant for the umbrella.
The fascination with the Blue Umbrella
Binya took the blue umbrella and went home. She cherishes its beauty so much that she never closes it and carries it wherever she goes. The blue umbrella’s elegance quickly becomes everyone in the village’s favorite topic of talk.
Everyone in the village was envious of her and admired her lovely umbrella. Binya agrees to hold it for everyone who asks her to. They frequently wondered how Binya acquired such a pricey umbrella given her extreme poverty. But Binya did not care about others’ opinions. Unlike others, who were envious of her blue umbrella, the children always praised the beauty of the blue umbrella.
The quest to get the Blue Umbrella
On the other hand, for other people, like Ram Bharosa, a small tea shop store proprietor, the lovely umbrella also becomes an addiction. He attempts unsuccessfully to buy the umbrella from Binya while covering it. He used to sell toffees to Binya and her brother. For the umbrella, he gave Binya some free toffees. Binya, however, was so devoted to her umbrella that she resisted eating the toffees. He offered chocolates to her brother Bijju on credit. He wanted to give him free chocolates so that he could take the blue umbrella from him in return.
During the holidays, Ram Bharosa offered Bijju to work in his shop. Bijju had to help her mother with the plowing and transplanting, so Ram Bharosa had to employ another boy, named Rajaram, from a nearby village. Ram Bharosa demanded the umbrella from his servant, a young kid, after becoming enraged. The youngster had intended to take the umbrella, and after failing, he told Binya’s brother that Ram Bharosa had assigned him to steal the umbrella.
The entire village learned about this. Because of the umbrella, he had suffered the tortures of greed and the despair of loneliness as people stopped coming to his shop.
On the other hand, Binya was somewhere blaming herself for the misery of Ram Bharosa. she questioned herself now and then. She asked herself if the umbrella was more important than people. She felt sad and closed her umbrella whenever she passed by the shop of Ram Bharosa.
A gesture of kindness
After two weeks, Binya was his first customer. she went to buy chocolate. She put the coin on the counter. Ram Bharosa was a bit shocked at her appearance, thinking that she came to mock him. he also checked the coin to see if it was good. After that, he gave her the toffee. Binya left the shop and left her umbrella there for Ram Bharosa. Ram Bharosa ran behind her to give her umbrella back. but she told him to keep that umbrella, saying, “An umbrella is not everything.” Binya understood that she did not require an umbrella to be content or to appear attractive. She was content because of her family, the villagers, and the stunning scenery around her.
Ram Bharosa kept the umbrella. He was once again joyful and healthy. When Binya pardoned Ram Bharosa, people began to forget what had transpired earlier. They once more began purchasing goods from him. Once more, there was crowding in his business, but this time, there was a change. Ram Bharosa always had a smile on his face and interacted with his clients in a selfless manner.
After a few days, he found a bear’s claw outside his shop. It is considered lucky. He went to the blacksmith’s shop and gave him instructions to make a pendant of that. He gave Binya the pendant saying it is luckier than a leopard claw.
Important lessons from the book
Despite being brief and straightforward, the narrative teaches important lessons about the decency and goodwill of people. Binya is an outstanding role model for both kids and adults because of her purity and kindness.
The Blue Umbrella recounts tales of amazing bravery performed by common Garhwal hill people. It demonstrates how a straightforward tale delivered with sincerity can profoundly affect readers on an emotional level. It is a great children’s book to teach them some very important values such as kindness, heroism, and the consequences of jealousy and envy.
About Ruskin Bond
Ruskin Bond is one of the most famous authors of children’s books. An iconic Indian writer, his extremely enjoyable style of writing has made books written by Ruskin Bond a huge hit all across the world. Most of the Ruskin Bond’s books are influenced by his life spent in the hill stations of India, especially his experiences while living in Dehradun. Having experimented with many different genres, Ruskin Bond books for kids will always remain his favorite writing style.
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