Reviews

The Blue Umbrella – A heart-warming tale of a simple girl living in the most beautiful mountains of India.

By Mru Natu

 

Binny lives in the Garhwal mountain regions of North India with her mother and brother. Her father died when she was very young. Their family grows vegetables in small patches of the land and is self-sufficient in their means. One day while grazing her cows around their lands, Binny wanders into a family of picnickers. She catches sight of a pretty blue umbrella belonging to the family and gets fixated on it.

One of the women in the family trades it with her for her lucky charm, a leopard claw pendant she wears around her neck.

Binny’s new possession makes her happy beyond her limits.  

But the sight of a happy girl flaunting her pretty umbrella in the village also makes a lot of people burn with envy. Especially the shopkeeper Ram Bharosa. He tries to buy Binny out of the umbrella but she doesn’t budge. Obsessed with a child’s thing he cannot have Ram Bharosa decides to do the worst.  

But an act like that burns a man’s conscience. Ram Bharosa loses his business and his sleep.   But then Binny commits a selfless and surprising act and all is well again.

I read a Kindle edition of the book. The cover has a pretty little girl wearing Indian attire sitting clutching her dainty little frilly blue umbrella. It’s a beautiful and attractive picture, done in a myriad of vibrant colors.  

What we think of the Book:

This story highlights the innocence and beauty within children. He highlights the fundamental motivations of adults and their hypocrisy.

For example, in the incident with the picnicking family. When the woman in the family insults Binny for having eyes on her pretty umbrella. Yet, the man in the family reminds the woman that she, too, was behaving similarly by eyeing the little girl’s pretty pendant for herself. 

“My umbrella!” exclaimed the young woman. “She wants my umbrella. What cheek!” “Well, you want her pendant, don’t you?” “That’s different.”

Many such instances are highlighting the differences in ways a small child thinks and an adult thinks. Like when the author writes – Unlike the adults, the children didn’t have to pretend. They were full of praise for the umbrella.

Bond’s stories transform ordinary people into heroic characters. He makes village life look so simple and yet so appealing. His characters find opportunities to redeem their wrong-doings, and that makes the stories so much more real.

This is a story about kindness, and humanity as much as it is a story that teaches us about the joy of gifting rather than possessing.

“She walked home through the darkening glade, singing of the stars; and the trees stood still and listened to her, and the mountains were glad.”

Our View on the Cover:
I read a Kindle edition of the book. The cover has a pretty little girl wearing Indian attire sitting clutching her dainty little frilly blue umbrella. It’s a beautiful and attractive picture, done in a myriad of vibrant colors.  


Characters:
Biiny aka Binnydevi a 10 year old girl,

Biju aka Vijay – Binny’s older brother, older by a couple of years,

Binni’s mother,

Ram Bharosa, the shopkeeper – who sold toffees to Binya,

Rajaram – boy who works for Ram Bharosa Neelu and Gori – Binya’s beloved cows.  

Writing Style:

“The umbrella was like a flower, a great blue flower that had sprung up on the dry brown hillside.”

The Blue umbrella is simply written, witty and it captures village life very elegantly. The story is told from a narrator’s perspective. A heart-warming tale of a simple girl living in the most beautiful mountains of India.

About The Author:

The Blue Umbrella is a short fiction written by Ruskin Bond & published by Rupa Publications. The author’s first novel was The Room on the Roof. Written when he was 17 he won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written several novels, short stories, essays, poems & children’s books. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993 for Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, a collection of short stories & the Padma Shri in 1999. His recent book is How to be a writer.

Who can read:
Everyone must read this simple story. And at only 33 pages you can finish it in one sitting. A must-read by one of India’s oldest and best-known writers.

Our Final Verdict:
Wonderfully simple and delightful heartwarming. Let the joy of giving, inspire you through this story.

TitleThe Blue Umbrella
ISBNB015A9TDWQ
Edition Reviewed1st March 2014
AuthorRuskin Bond
The Asian Review Rating9 out of 10

Categories: Reviews

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