During my childhood, when I had no clue about novels, I heard a name that some of the teachers would say at the school library – Ruskin Bond. Though I knew nothing about the man until a few years ago, the name fascinated me. And the more fascinated was I when I realized that he is an Anglo-Indian author, living in the Mussoorie. Since I started reading novels and stories, I wanted to read Ruskin Bond, but couldn’t. I have, at last, read the famous novella he wrote in 1974, The Blue Umbrella.
Plot Summary of The Blue Umbrella
The Blue Umbrella is a story about a young girl named Binya from the mountains of Himachal, who falls in love with a blue-coloured umbrella. She gets the umbrella in exchange for her leopard claw necklace from a tourist. Binya roams all over the town flaunting her new umbrella, the most beautiful one in the village.
Everyone, right from the school teacher’s wife to the pujari of the temple envies her for having it. Especially, Ram Bharose, a tea stall owner who desperately wants it. He tries to trick Binya, and her elder brother, Bijju, to acquire it but doesn’t succeed. In the end, Ruskin Bond delivers a great message, which is what makes The Blue Umbrella a fantastic children’s book.
Simplistic Beauty in The Blue Umbrella
Though it is a children’s novella, even adults can take a leaf or two from The Blue Umbrella. Ruskin Bond makes the readers realize how simple, beautiful, and subtle life can be. In the exhausting and mundane city life, we often suppress the calling from within to get back to the roots. The monotonous and materialistic life in the 21st century has robbed us of the simple joys of the world.
Ruskin Bond, even though in 1974, reminds us of the feeling of playing in the mud during the rains. The feeling of eating freshly roasted corn, soaking in the cool breeze, and the fragrance of soil gives you a solid kick of nostalgia in your gut. What’s strange is that everything about The Blue Umbrella is simple, nothing’s extraordinary. Yet, Ruskin Bond strikes a chord in your heart like no one else does!
One of the main messages that the author delivers in of greed and its consequences. First, it is depicted through the young lady, owner of the blue umbrella, and then through Ram Bharose and Rajaram. The subtlety with which he delivers the message is what differentiates him from others.
Entrance into the World of Ruskin Bond
I have always wanted to read Ruskin Bond, and without a doubt, The Blue Umbrella is just the beginning. In fact, I have a strong feeling that this was the perfect book to start exploring the author. Ruskin Bond uses simple and palatable language as it is a children’s book. The Blue Umbrella can easily be one of the best beginner’s books.
Though the book is short – just over eighty pages – It still delivers a fulfilling experience. Ruskin Bond gives details where it matters and skips unnecessary stuff quite effortlessly. All in all, The Blue Umbrella is a must-read for anyone looking for quick, simple, yet fulfilling stories.
Rating – 5/5
Looking for some more serious and heavy stuff? Check my review of the Animal Farm.
Noman Shaikh is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Bombay Reads. He grew up in Mumbai, a city he loves more than any other, and currently works as a content consultant. His expertise lies in creating high-quality academic and marketing content in the form of blogs, articles, op-eds, etc. Noman has worked with reputed brands, including Economic Times (through Spiral Media), Coinbase (through MattsenKumar), AdEngage, Della Group, GBIM Technologies, VAP Group, etc. For his published portfolio, click here. Contact Noman on noman@bombayreads for engagement.