By Himalayan Tenzin - Friday, August 22, 2014

The Blue Umbrella is a short and humorous novella set in the hills of Garhwal.”

Binya is a ten year old girl who lives with her little brother, Bijju, and mother. Her father had died when she’s just two, “but his passing had made no difference to their way of life.” From three tiny terraced fields on the side of the mountain, they produce enough to live on. They also own two cows – Neelu and Gori.

One day, she comes across a party of picnickers. A woman eyes on her necklace with a leopard’s claw. In exchange for it, Binya acquires a beautiful blue umbrella, woven of sky blue silk. Soon it becomes envy of the entire village including old Ram Bharosa ( Ram the Trustworthy ) who owns a tea shop on the Tehri road. He persuades Binya to sell him the umbrella. Binya refuses because she loves her umbrella. Unable to resist the greed to acquire the umbrella, Ram Bharosa tries various wicked means: luring Bijju and employing his minion – Rajaram – into stealing the umbrella.

When it becomes known to everyone that Rajaram tried to steal the Umbrella on behalf of Ram Bharosa, “Ram the Trustworthy” gets taunted to “ Trusty Umbrella Thief.” Ever since then, people avoid his shop. As result, his shop and he nearly dries up. But kind Binya breaks the stigma by sacrificing her lovely umbrella to the old man, on pretence of forgetting it on his shop:
Cover picture in Rupa publication.
 It contains 82 pages excluding author's note. 

“But I’m never in the sun or in the rain,” he said aloud.” Of what use is an umbrella to me?”.........

He wasn’t used to running, but he caught up with her, held out the umbrella, saying,” You forgot it – the umbrella!”

In that moment it belonged to both of them.”

Ram Bharosa gifts a bear’s claw pendant having thin silver chain to Binya.

The Blue Umbrella is a story of gift, greed and sacrifice. Binya exchanges/sacrifices her leopard’s claw pendant to acquire The Blue Umbrella. Greed ruins Ram Bharosa. But Binya’s gift changes Ram Bharosa totally – from greedy to a kind person ( round character J ).

The Blue Umbrella is a realistic fable for children but the simple yet witty language of the story teller – Ruskin Bond – makes it a story to be read by all ages. 

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