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Ruskin Bond, a popular Anglo-Indian writer for children catches the spirit of Himalayan splendour, the beauty of valleys in Uttranchal in a short story entitled "Binya''s Blue Umbrella" (1995). Written with wit, sensitivity and deep empathy with the people of the hills, the story is about a young girl called Binya who is enchanted by a blue umbrella of a city lady. The lady reflects a typical upper class attitude in her supercilious glance as she sizes up Binya even as she gets tempted by her tiger claw necklace. Binya exchanges her "totem" for the blue silk umbrella that makes her feel like a queen in the village! A small time tea shop owner Ram Bharose is quite a mercenary when it comes to children who que outside his shop to buy biscuits and sweets. The story is full of adventures with this magical umbrella that becomes the source of envy and delight for the village folk. Binya can''t afford to loose sight of her umbrella that is coloured with depths of skies, her dreams take flight as she holds it, even as Ram Bharose lures her with money. The surprise ending has a humane note without an explicitly stated moral. The story was adapted as a film "The Blue Umbrella" in Hindi by famous director Vishaal Bhardwaj in 2007 winning the best children''s film award this year. Bond''s gentle unobtrusive humour, touch of satire, playfulness and easy language makes the story a must read for children in any age group.
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