BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI
The Blue Umbrella has received widespread acclaim from readers and reviewers alike, and is considered one of Ruskin Bond’s best works. The narrative is brief and straightforward, yet it eloquently hits on a fundamental quality of humanity: compassion. Binya Ruskin instils a spirit of kindness in youngsters via his work. It’s a fantastic book that everyone should read. The author’s writing style is admirable since it is basic yet effective, and his imagination is warm and inviting. This collection of lines captures the enthusiasm of people living in mountainous places, a location dear to the author’s heart as his birthplace.
Binya is a poor little girl who lives in a tiny mountainous village in Garhwal with her mother and older brother, Bijju. She comes upon some city folks enjoying a picnic in the valley one day while herding her two cows back home. She is captivated by their well-groomed appearance and wealth. She aspires to be like them, and amid their numerous possessions, a blue frilly umbrella strikes her eye. She has a strong desire for it. The city folks, on the other hand, are drawn to her naive beauty and the necklace around her neck. The pendant is made of a leopard’s claw, which is generally regarded as a mascot in the hills. Binya exchanges her necklace for a blue umbrella.
The blue umbrella is so lovely that it quickly becomes a topic of talk among the villagers, and the youngsters admire her umbrella so much that they want to touch or hold it at all times. Binya is in seventh heaven and only shuts it once in a while since she thinks it looks so lovely while it’s open.
Ram Bharosa owns a tiny shop without a refrigerator where he sells food, groceries, and soft beverages. He is so enamoured with the umbrella that he decides to acquire it under all circumstances. As a result, he makes Binya an offer to buy the umbrella. She, on the other hand, declines the offer. He is turned off by the refusal. He quickly recruits a youngster from a nearby hamlet to work in his business. Binya is out in the forest gathering porcupine quills when the boy, who is devoted to him, snatches the umbrella from her.
Bijju, ironically, catches the youngster. When the child discloses Ram Bharosa’s involvement in the theft, the locals shun him and refuse to visit his business. As a result, Ram Bharosa suffers a setback, and his livelihood is jeopardised. Binya is saddened by Ram Bharosa’s predicament and feels guilty for his suffering. She then gives Ram Bharosa her umbrella. In exchange, Ram gives her a pendant with a bear’s claw embedded in it, which is thought to be fortunate than a leopard’s.
When it comes to little children, various individuals with varied perspectives account for a sense of belonging when it comes to what is good and what is wrong.
In this narrative, it is a lovely trip of the umbrella, rather a risk worthy umbrella, from one hand to another, encapsulating a confusing attitude to how to cope with its beauty from the perspective of a youngster.
On the list, it is a highly recommended book. Adults may use it to educate themselves that power by empathy, rather than power via arrogance, is the only road to succeed. The author has flamboyantly inflated the setting and people, according to a mild critical viewpoint. Apart from that, everything is very gentle and enticing. The enthusiasm for the umbrella is a metaphor for our desire for small pleasures in life.