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Book Review: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

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About the Author:

Ruskin Bond’s first novel, The Room On The Roof, written when he was seventeen, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written several novellas (including Vagrants in the Valley, A Fight of Pigeons and Delhi is Not Far), essays, poems and children’s books. He has also written over 500 short stories and articles that have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993 for Our Trees Still Grows in Dehra, a collection of short stories, and the Padma Shri in 1999.
The blurb:
In exchange for her lucky leopard’s claw pendant, Binya acquires a beautiful blue umbrella that makes her the envy of everyone in the village, especially Ram Bharosa, the shopkeeper. It is the prettiest umbrella in the whole village and she carries it everywhere she goes. The Blue Umbrella is a short and humorous novella set in the hills of Garhwal. Written in simple yet witty language, it captures life in a village- where …

One Year

It’s been one year since my father’s demise and without him. We did everything for the first time without him- celebrating festivals (not the way we used to), going on vacation without him yet we’ve not gone on any and in past few years when he was with us; going on invitation party without him; our lifestyles have changed; our lunch-time has changed; and the most important thing- I miss my father’s scolding- his reprehending me for any reason, and his screaming our names, ‘Subham,’ ‘Chotu’ (my brother’s nickname!), and ‘Babu,’ (he used to call my mother!), aloud when he needed us.
I adhere to my beliefs, one of them, a universal belief, many believe in: ‘whatever happens happens because of a reason.’ I know it’s merely a group of words which is easy to say but not easy to accept. Nevertheless, a bitter true! Now, for example, if one of your friends’ splits up with his girlfriend, if it’s a boy or, the other way round, then you would advise him or her, ‘This was meant to happen. You c…

Through The Spectacle

It was twelve past five, my brother cried, ‘Ain’t you willing to collect your spectacle from the shop?’ from the other room.
I conformed.
‘Go, take your bath,’ he ordered. I stripped off my pants and rolled towel round my waist, which held tight tucked at my waist. I went into the bathroom and bathed.
I stepped out of the bathroom and uttered, ‘Are you ready?’
‘Yes.’
‘Give me two minutes, I will slide into my pant and put on a shirt.’
I did exactly what I committed.
Meanwhile, he went down.
I went to the front veranda, slid my foot into the kitto sandals and coincidently, he blew the bike’s horn. His blown horn broke the utter silence, which was being disturbed by the whining ceiling fan, and forced me to look out the veranda fences. It was all blurred- I could not see the brushing line of the leaves, which the rushing wind was whisking invisibly; I couldn’t see the beautiful five white petals of the pinwheels, which bespangled the tiny bush, the sexy opening curves at the mouth of the ye…

The Path Unknown

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I’d known the path I wish I’ve had been bestowed; The path, which I've had never thought would walk: The unknown, jagged path, I nurse now, is merely the path I walk, Has become wonted!
I wish I could divert, And, walk on alien one. Howbeit, I can’t: I can’t, for I have grown roots in this soil, And, I move where my roots take me.
I’m not weary. But, I’m overstrung, For, the way ahead is not known. My roots take me wheresoever I’m meant for.
Now, that I’m not queer to this way, Nor does it, I’ve unfolded my branches, Stretched apart: The gust of wind birches me, Titillating me sometimes, Sometimes- dashes: Don’t I dare move, Weening about the birds nested between My bows and leaves, For they are- life to me!
And, I- walk the path unknown.



Copyright © Subham Srivastava
Picture Courtesy: Mainak Das

The Koko Tree

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The little child barged into the house and, darted toward his mother, breathing hastily as if he would die if he didn’t say his mother, ‘Maa, I have something for you!’
The child’s face was besmirched with dust and, the streak of sweat running down his face, making his countenance similar to those of the terrorists’ faces: the kohl smudged dark slanting, parallel across their faces. But, the child’s face had the intense emotion of purity, loyalty, clean-heartedness and, innocence.
His mother was chopping salad for lunch on the kitchen counter. She stopped and, averted her face. ‘What’s that?’ she murmured.
‘Maa, see what I have got,’ after a brief pause, ‘for you,’ the restless child said. He brought his right hand forward stealthily and, put the left hand on the right hand to hide something; he raised both the hand up and opened the palms sideward, making a plate, on which a couple of pink, plumose flowers of Koko tree rested.
‘Maa, this is for you,’ the child said after puffing lun…

I love you

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I do intend to love you,
With the love for sacrifice!
In the path of dim,
I walk through the night.
Known to me your love is,
But, I haven’t expected the redemancy from the day one;
I’ve loved blindly and will do truly.
I say you once again, “I love you, dearly!”



I'd like to thank Simran for suggesting me the prompt