Binya is a poor little girl living with her mother and an elder brother, Bijju, in a very small hilly village of Garhwal. One day while herding her two cows back home, she stumbles upon some city people enjoying the picnic in the valley. She is enthralled to see them rich and well-groomed. She craves to be one like them and among many other things of their, a blue frilly umbrella catches her attention. She begins craving for it. On the other hand, the city people get attracted by her innocent beauty and the pendant in her neck. The pendant consists of leopard’s claw – which is considered a mascot widely in the hills. Binya trades her pendant off with the blue umbrella.
The blue umbrella is so much beautiful that soon it becomes a topic of conversation for villagers and children adore her umbrella so much that every time they feel like to touch or hold it. Binya is on seventh heaven and rarely closes it because she believes it looks charming when it is opened.
Ram Bharosa runs a small shop where he sells food items, grocery, and soft drinks without refrigerator. He is so much envied by the umbrella that he decides to own it at any condition. So, he extends a proposal for buying the umbrella from Binya. But she refuses the offer. The refusal turns him off. Very soon, he hires a boy from the neighboring village to work at his shop. The boy being loyal to him steals the umbrella from Binya’s house. Ironically, the boy is caught by Bijju. When the boy reveals Ram Bharosa’s name behind the stealing, the villagers ostracize him and also stop visiting his shop. As a result Ram Bharosa suffers a loss and his livelihood comes on the verge of end.
Binya feels sad about Ram Bharosa’s situation and she reproaches herself for his suffering. Next, she donates her umbrella to Ram Bharosa. In return, Ram gifts her pendant with a bear’s claw in it, which is considered even luckier than of leopard’s.
The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond is a children’s book. The story is short and simple but elegantly touches the core aspect of humanity - kindness. Through Binya Ruskin instils a sense of kindness among children. It is an amazing read for all.