The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond | Book Review and Summary

The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond Summary Cover

The celebrated Indian children’s author Ruskin Bond’s story, The Blue Umbrella, has gained immense popularity since its publication in 1980. It is one of the most-read stories. The narrative revolves around an unassuming young girl whose selflessness and compassion triumph over greed and materialism, making it a tale of extraordinary humanity.

The Blue Umbrella has been included in several of Ruskin Bond’s collections of short stories, including A Gathering of Friends and Children’s Omnibus, among others. Its widespread acclaim led to its adaptation into a Hindi movie bearing the same title in 2005. Furthermore, Amar Chitra Katha publications, a prominent publisher of comic books in India, transformed the story into a graphic novel in 2012 titled The Blue Umbrella – Stories by Ruskin Bond.

Set in the picturesque hills of Garhwal, the fictional narrative explores the fundamental values of selflessness and contentment through the lens of a young girl’s heroic deeds. The Blue Umbrella serves as a poignant reminder to re-examine our priorities. It encourages us to let go of worldly desires for genuine happiness. It is a captivating story that lingers in our minds long after reading, prompting introspection and reflection.

In this blog on the book The Blue Umbrella


This is the story of a cheerful little girl Binya, who lives with her mother and an elder brother Bijju, in the hills of Garhwal. One day, while herding her cows back home, she comes across some picnickers in the hills. They had a beautiful Blue Umbrella. Binya fell in love with the umbrella at first sight. In exchange for her lucky Leopard claw pendant, she acquires that umbrella.

This umbrella brings unbound happiness in Binya’s life, she carries it everywhere with her, and it becomes the talk of the town. This newfound fame brought with it jealousy and envy from some of the villagers. One old shopkeeper Rambharosa eyed this treasured possession of Binya and decided to own it by any means. He offers to buy the beautiful umbrella, which Binya refuses flatly, making him sad over his position. In the middle of the monsoon, he employs a boy Rajaram from the neighboring town, as a helper in his shop. Rajaram was a shrewd boy. After learning of Rambharosa’s fancy for the umbrella, he strikes a deal with him of getting him the umbrella to prove his worth. He then steals Binya’s blue umbrella and blames it on him (Rambharosa) to save his own skin after being caught by Bijju after a great fight. Everybody in the village believes him without any second thought, as they are all well aware of Rambharosa’s obsession with that umbrella. This brought an ill name to Rambharosa, and the villagers stopped buying from his shop. Seeing the poor shopkeeper’s plight, Binya empathized and decided to gift the umbrella to him. The little girl put Rambharosa’s happiness above her own and was ready to part with her most loved possession. In return, Rambharosa also showed kindness by first trying to return the umbrella and then gifting Binya the lucky bear claw pendant, hence proving that kindness will always attract kindness. Rambharosa told everyone that Binya had gifted him this umbrella. Villagers started to buy from his shop again.

But had she loved the umbrella too much? Had it mattered more to her than people matter?

Themes and Motifs

The Blue Umbrella explores the themes of kindness and forgiveness in a world full of selfishness and envy. The little hero of the story, Binya, embodies these virtues as she expresses her compassion towards the person who tried to snatch her priciest possession. Displaying a magnanimous gesture, she forgives the old shopkeeper and gifts him the umbrella without any hesitation. The story also touches upon the perils of jealousy and envy, which can lead people to do hurtful things. The change of heart in Rambharose towards the end is a potent reminder that small acts of kindness can leave a significant impact on people.

The motif of the story is the beautiful Blue Umbrella that symbolizes beauty, richness, and something unattainable due to its exclusiveness. Binya’s possession of the umbrella sets her apart from the other village people making her a target of envy and jealousy. This Blue Umbrella kept occurring time and time again in the story, from making Binya the talk of the town to making her realize the true meaning of happiness in the end.

What is the moral of the story The Blue Umbrella

The story teaches us the ultimate lessons of humility, kindness and humanity. As the story progresses, this seemingly children’s story turns into a mature tale with the deep message. The little girl’s kindness and humility made her a bigger and happier person, and turns a shrewd Rambharosa into a friendly and pleasant person. It also shows the dangers of materialism and how selfishness can damage one’s reputation leading to loneliness. The story’s moral can be summed up in one expression by Binya in the story, “But an umbrella isn’t everything”.

But an umbrella isn't everything.

Literary Significance

The Blue Umbrella is a beautifully written story that showcases Ruskin Bond’s mastery of the craft. Bond’s prose is simple yet evocative, painting a vivid picture of life in the Himalayas. The story is also notable for its use of symbolism and imagery, particularly the blue umbrella motif.

My Musings

Happiness is living your childhood… and every time I read this book, it takes me back to my childhood when I lived in Nainital, Uttarakhand. I, along with my friends used to climb on the Pine-clad hills every Sunday. Oh my, what days!

I just love Ruskin Bond because he connects me instantly with the best days of my life as most of his stories are set up on those serene hilly areas, and The Blue Umbrella is one such story. I am sure this beautiful novella will definitely touch a chord not only with the young readers but also with all those adults who still have child inside them.

I liked everything about this book! I liked the simple yet engaging story. I liked the setting of the story; the lucid writing style of Ruskin Bond; the characterization of Binya; the way the story progresses and portrays various emotions like innocence, love, possessiveness, jealousy, empathy and kindness.

I like author’s style of giving a message through a simple tale. I liked The Blue Umbrella.


The Blue Umbrella has captured the hearts of readers worldwide, becoming a beloved classic. Its themes, motif and symbols are timeless and resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds. The story teaches us valuable lessons about compassion and kindness and serves as a reminder that we should not define people by their material possessions but by their actions and attitudes towards others.

Character Sketch of Binya in the novel - The Blue Umbrella book

Binya is the most important character in the novel The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond. Binya is a lovely hilly girl who lives in a tiny family in the hilly areas of Garhwal. Her father passed away when she was just two years old. To provide food for their family, they have three tiny terraced fields on which they cultivate onions, potatoes, ginger, beans, maize, and mustard. They don’t offer the produce in the marketplace, but they do keep the produce for themselves. They also have two cows named Neelu and Gori, from which they get additional milk to give to the public. The primary goal of their lives is self-sufficiency, not money-making. Binya’s brother Bijju is a student. She doesn’t go to any school but takes care of two cows.

Binya loves adventuring in the mountains and valleys. She isn’t afraid of darkness, woods, or climbing trees. She cherishes opportunity, too. Subsequently, at whatever point cows go out with her, she never shouts at them nor controls them to a great extent. She seems to be lost in her own thoughts. One day when she goes over certain picnickers from the city, she understands that city people have distinctive ways of life and satisfaction. They are rich and have great things, similar to a blue umbrella.

It is pitiful to note that city people viewed her as a helpless young lady since she wore torn garments. She looks at them in a good way; it implies she doesn’t care about being with individuals. Frequently hilly people don’t favor blending into the group. Additionally, she feels anxious when she is at the marketplace. Binya isn’t eager to sell her tiger claw pendant, even when city people offer her five rupees for it. City folk may not understand the value of this natural item, but to Binya it’s priceless. Instead, she decided to have that blue umbrella for that tiger claw pendant.

Binya is not just a compassionate person, she is also very caring and helpful. She is always willing to go out of her way to help others, and she is always quick to lend a hand. She allows the town’s children to hold her umbrella for a brief time. One breezy evening when her umbrella gets snatched up by the breeze into a ravine, she cautiously, with a decent good judgment, follows it and gets it out from the cherry tree. She wasn’t anxious about anything. Her relationship with Ram Bharosa, the shopkeeper and tea shop owner, turns sour when he unfairly attempts to contain her blue umbrella.

After that episode, Ram Bharosa’s shop business decays, and Binya feels liable for his misfortune. She reproaches herself for displaying the umbrella over the cutoff, she gifts the blue umbrella to him so that people start revisiting  his shop. Regarding her looks, Binya is reasonable, bold, fair, and durable, with dark hair and eyes. She sports a little braid. However, Binya is an ordinary girl, like most youngsters her age, yet her ethics like empathy, charity, and strength make her stand apart from the group.

Character Sketch of Ram Bharosa in the novel - The Blue Umbrella book

Ram Bharosa is a moderately old businessperson who owns a tea shop on Tehri road. He also sells sodas, curd, and toffees, mostly food items in his shop. A bus stops at his store each day, and passengers sip tea or consume curd. He is the most lavish man in the town. However, he’s also highly greedy too. He often lets people or students take things for granted by praising them. At the moment of reckoning and then charges them an additional fee, and if they cannot pay, they can take a chunk of their most valuable possessions to use themselves or sell in his store.

However, Binya and her brother Bijju aren’t apathetic to his snarky behavior. They’re very cautious of him. Ram Bharosa is greedy for the blue umbrella. He must have it therefore, he offers a price of twelve rupees Binya but with no result. When he notices Binya walking in front of his shop, he attempts to draw her but with any success. He gets sad over his position. In the middle of the monsoon, he employs one of his children named Rajaram from the town adjacent as a right hand in his shop. Rajaram, shrewd, promises to take the umbrella from him for the cost of 3 Rs. This Ram Bharosa concurs hesitatingly. To counter their arrangement, he reads up the latest news as he steals the umbrella.

The word was spread throughout the town that Ram Bharosa tried to get the umbrella by influencing people with untrustworthy methods. The people stopped coming to his store since, in the hills, trustworthiness is possibly the most rewarded virtue, and he was annoyed by it. The kids teased him by saying, “the trustworthy thief. After witnessing Ram Bharosa’s desperate situation, Binya chooses to help him. So, one day, she gives him an umbrella and some leaves. This aids in improving his appearance in the community. To repay this blessing, Ram Bharosa gets made an ornament from a bear’s claw and presented it to her. This is considered to be more blessed than the panther or the tiger. We eventually discover that Binya’s compassion and kindness help Ram Bharosa recover his independent business of the shops. After that, based on the picture of the child Binya, Ram Bharosa returns to his path of reliability.

Character Sketch of Bijju in the novel - The Blue Umbrella book

Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond is a well-known book focusing on Binya and her elder brother Bijju. The novel revolves around Binya and her adorable blue umbrella, but we also see interesting characters like Bijju and Ram Bharosa. This write-up will look at Bijju as the book’s third main character. Bijju’s real name was Vijay Kumar; however, in the lower regions of the Himalayas, it is customary to refer to people using their nicknames. For Binyadevi, it is Binya, while for Vijay Kumar, it is Bijju.

Bijju is a 12-year-old boy and wears a claw of a leopard on his neck, just like his younger sister Binya aged ten years. age. But we can find excellent harmony and love between sister siblings, but they differ in their attitudes. Binya is kind to cattle Neelu and Gori and Gori, whereas Bijju is quite a hot kid. So, whenever it’s dull, he herds the cows in a hurry to get home. In addition, Binya and Bijju share the same viands. This is evident when Bijju gives his blueberries to Binya. Additionally, they often go to the shop of Ram Bharosa for food items or to buy toffees that they can eat.

Another thing about Bijju is that he comes to school each day, which proves he’s a capable and diligent student. As with Binya or other children who are hilly, Bijju also is a courageous child. He’s not afraid of darkness, haze, snakes, or wild animals and is completely intolerant of honey bees. In the past, he had separated one colony of bees and the honey bees on all over his body. Since then, he’s been resistant to the honeybees. Due to their obligation to society, he on the land during monsoons to sow rice. If there is no school in the dry season, he gives milk to a few people in the town.

Binya and Bijju are not legitimate, and Bijju is aware of this fact somewhere. He isn’t doing anything to upset his mother and Binya. He does not shy away from dealing with his mother and younger sister. At the moment that Rajaram is the child Ram Bharosa employs, he takes and attempts to escape with the blue umbrella belonging to Binya, it’s Bijju who pursues him and can retrieve the umbrella. Although the story is centered on Binya and her beautiful blue umbrella, Bijju is a significant person who assists the overall story.

Binya’s Blue Umbrella Questions & Answers

Most frequent questions and answers

Binya received the blue umbrella when she gifted her charm – a leopard’s claw pendant to Mem-Saheb in exchange for an umbrella.

Ram Bharosa was the trusty shopkeeper in the village. Binya and Bijju would come to him to purchase toffees.

Ram Bharosa was astonished by Binya’s blue umbrella.

Ram Bharosa offers Binya twelve rupees for her umbrella, but she does not accept the proposal.

Everybody on the road looked at Binya and was amazed at her beautiful blue umbrella.

As Binya was resting, a breeze rose gently across the forest, whispering. Then, shortly after, it joined random gusts that swept across the top of the mountain range. The trees shrugged, the wind swayed her cheeks, and the umbrella flew out of the way.

Binya had to be cautious to avoid triggering a landslide because once the stones began to tumble down, the slide would carry more stones and stop at the lowest point.

Binya received the blue umbrella as a reward in exchange for her pendant.

Binya could keep the umbrella open regardless of the circumstances, even though it wasn’t supposed to be. However, when she was at her house, she would keep it to the side of the room with the umbrella not unfolded. Everyone loved the umbrella, and they would always try to get to know Binya so that she could allow them to hold her beautiful umbrella for a time.

Binya performed the most challenging task. Crawling up the tree’s trunk to catch it was the most challenging task. Binya was sitting under the shade of the pine tree, and the umbrella was still in its open and lying on her. While she was sleeping, an erupting wind came up and was followed by other gusts of random wind that swept over the tops of the mountain.

The book beautifully illustrates that there is no need for an object to be content. If we are in love with something, the love fades away at some point. However, the love between people doesn’t fade away so quickly. Binya gives up her umbrella to enjoy the joy that Ram Bharosa got because of it. The result makes him a more comfortable and pleasant person.

It is vital to show the value of kindness throughout our lives. Students will be able to see how selfishness and materialism can be detrimental to society and demonstrate the benefits of friendship and generosity via Binya and Ram Bharosa.

The most challenging task was slogging across the tree trunk, which stood at an angle from the high cliff, to get the umbrella out.

Binya receives a gorgeous blue umbrella from a group of foreigners in exchange for a pendant made of leopard claws. Eventually, Binya willingly gives the umbrella to Ram Bharosa, and he, in turn, presents her with an adorable bear claw pendant.

Binya can’t stand the free sight of her umbrella that is colored with depths of skies. Binya gifts the blue umbrella to Ram Bharosa so people can again begin going to his shop.

Ram Bharosa is a selfish and greedy person in the novel.

Vijay Kumar is the actual name of Bijju. Bijju was his nickname.

Video - The Blue Umbrella English Summary

Video - The Blue Umbrella Hindi Summary

I hope you enjoyed reading this review! Don’t miss your chance to explore the 63 most extraordinary narratives by Ruskin Bond.

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