ChapterThe Blue Umbrella

Meet the Author

  • Ruskin Bond is an Anglo Indian writer who has won Padma Bhushan Award in 2014.
  • Born: 19 May 1934
  • Place of Birth: Kasauli, India
  • Best Known for: Bond is known for his children’s fiction especially his first novel “The Room on the Roof”. His other works include, Time Stops at Shamli, Panther’s Moon, and Book of Humor
Blue Umbrella
Blue Umbrella

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Summary of the Chapter

Like most Ruskin Bond stories, the chapter “The Blue Umbrella” is also set in the Himalayas. The story revolves around Binya and the “blue umbrella” she received from the tourists. She is a typical mountain girl who takes the cows to the grazing field. She fetches water from the spring and carries the milk to the tea shops on the Tehri road. During these chores, she carries her dear blue umbrella with her. The author describes her walking around with the blue umbrella as a patch of the sky that can be seen on the hillside.

The villagers use the Tehri road to go to the market. Some people choose to take the bus and some others walk or travel on a mule. Each time people on the road take notice of this girl walking with the “bright blue umbrella”.

One day she was resting under a pine tree. The umbrella lay open beside her. She soon dozed off as it was a warm, summery day. As she was sleeping a strong wind came her way. It came so silently and gushed over the trees. Soon the wind was joined by other winds and became a stronger force. The trees moved their heads as the wind slided through them. The wind fanned Binya’s cheeks and moved the umbrella that was lying on the grass.

The author has used a lot of adjectives to describe the wind’s movement such as ‘quietly, swishing, gently, and humming softly. The wind and the trees are personified here.

The trees shook their heads and came to life.

The wind grew stronger over the course of time and lifted the dead leaves from the ground. It started to drag along the umbrella and carried it six feet away from Binya. Soon, the sound of the wind woke her up. She sprang up and understood that the umbrella had moved from her reach. She started following the umbrella that was being dragged by the wind. The wind was in a “wicked, playful mood”. The umbrella went on dancing, floating and bouncing away from her. Again the writer is using personification to describe the wind and the umbrella.

As it went, the hill started to get steeper and riskier. Binya realized that her umbrella would soon go off into the steep cliff (precipice). She ran as much as she could to prevent that. But the wind was way ahead of her. She went to the edge of the cliff. There were only a few bushes and a cherry tree that grew on that steep cliff. The umbrella had got stuck on that cherry tree.

Binya was raised among the hills. She was not scared of the cliff. She did not think twice before trying to get her umbrella off from the cherry tree standing on a sharp cliff.

Binya did not hesitate. She may have been timid with strangers, but she was at home on a hillside. She stuck her bare leg over the edge of the cliff and began climbing down, she kept her face to the hillside, feeling her way with her feet, only changing her handhold when she knew her feet were secure.

Girl walking into mountain
Girl walking into mountain

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She knew the trick to climb safely down the cliff. She knew which bush to trust and which not to. This proves her familiarity with the hillside and its vegetation. There were loose stones on the hillside which fell deep into the bottom of the hill. So she had to be careful not to slip or push anything down as it might kick start a landslide.

The author compares her to a “mountain-goat” as she could easily and swiftly move around on the mountain. She just took 5 minutes to reach the ‘crooked cherry tree’. Even then the most difficult part was pending. She had to crawl along the trunk of the tree which was standing at the right angle from the cliff. Only then she could reach the umbrella. She climbed through the bark by gripping her toes on the bard of the tree and using her knees as leverage. She was proud of the fact that her brother Bijju and herself knew how to climb trees.

She was almost there, but she felt a fear as she knew that she was over the chasm and eight feet below there was a river flowing. As she looked down she felt dizzy. Her hands started to shake therefore the tree also started to shiver. She was fully aware that she would fall into deep down.

She soon gathered her concentration and kept aiming at the umbrella. She managed to get hold of it. However, she could not crawl back with her hands. Hence she let the umbrella fall into the ravine. It landed on a group of nettles. The umbrella’s journey down was made smooth with the soft flowing wind.

She soon crawled her way back and rushed down. She took 20 minutes to reach the thorny nettles where her umbrella was resting. Her legs had the nettle stings but she was delighted to get her umbrella.

Twenty minutes later she emerged from the nettle clump, her precious umbrella held aloft. She had nettle stings all over her legs, but she was hardly aware of the smarting.

The story tells us the bravery of the young girl and her love for her dear blue umbrella. As readers we must appreciate and admire her presence of mind even in difficult situations and her smartness to get her way through any challenge.

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The Blue Umbrella Questions and Answers

Below are a few questions that you can look out for your examinations and class tests. Stand out with perfectly written answers with help of Aneetta Class.

Binya is a small girl growing up in the part of Himalayas known as Garhwal. She is a normal girl who takes care of her family. She goes out to graze her cows and distributes the milk in the nearby tea shops. She always had a blue umbrella that she was extremely fond of. Some tourists gifted it to her. She helps in house chores such as collecting water from the spring or going to the market. She was a fierce mountain girl who took pride in climbing trees.

Binya is a highly determined child. She never gives up on her umbrella. She is a brave kid. She did not fear climbing over a tree that was at the right angle to the ravine. She has immense concentration power. It was only because of her deep concentration that she could untable her umbrella from the cherry tree.

Binya is extremely fond of her blue umbrella. She is said to carry it around her all the time. The author mentions this in the beginning of the story. It looked as if a part of the blue sky was walking through the hills. Her love for her umbrella is further established when she risked her life to get it back. She didn't even bother getting stings from the herbs to get her umbrella back. These instances prove that she was fond of her blue umbrella.