Like I’d done with The Cherry Tree, I bought The Blue Umbrella when it was on sale. And just like The Cherry Tree, I fell in love with this book, too. Ruskin Bond is pure genius in his simplicity. His stories are simple, yet carry a message that resonates with every reader in some form or the other. While The Cherry Tree shows the positives that comes from patiently nurturing trees (or people close to you, if you’re thinking metaphorically), The Blue Umbrella shows the stark delineation between adult and children’s thinking.
Ruskin Bond’s stories come to life in the mountains, thanks to his connection with them. Bond has been living in Mussoorie for years now with his adopted family. Living among purity, clouds, and greenery is something I envy him; not more than his writing, of course. I wish I had the power to write simply yet with an underlying message that hits home.
The Blue Umbrella follows the simple story of Binya, a mountain girl, who chances upon a blue umbrella and gets it for herself in exchange for her lucky charm. The entire village becomes envious of the umbrella, including the shopkeeper, Ram Bharosa, who tries to buy the beautiful umbrella from Binya. When she refuses, he is disappointed. His greed for the umbrella grows and he has the chance to get it with the help of a boy he has employed. What happens when Binya realizes what has happened, how Ram Bharosa suffers, and how Binya’s large heart allows her to give up the umbrella that she holds close to her heart forms the rest of the story.
Ruskin Bond has, with the help of The Blue Umbrella, shown children’s innocence with utmost sincerity and precision, as is his forte. In addition to this, he has also shown how greed can destroy a human being. A child is much more empathetic to the problems faced by people around them, without being selfish, and without being vindictive. The points subtly put across by this story make you think about perspectives and priorities in life.
It took me less than 45 minutes to finish this book, but the lessons given out by it will stay with me for the rest of my life.
After all, the name’s Bond. Ruskin Bond.
Rating: 5/5 stars
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