Fiction, Short Story

The Big-Blue Umbrella

I am very happy to announce that, this one got published in the Shishir (Winter) 2019 issue (collections on Love theme) of Active Muse– a journal of literature, poetry and art. You can also read it here.


A skinny, eleven-year-old girl, clad in tattered Salwar-Kameez came running to the umbrella shop. Her uncombed hair flew wildly in the wind and a cloth bag hung heavily on her small, bony shoulders. The shop was still closed which meant the shopkeeper was a little late today. She sat down near the entrance of a small temple across the street, to wait and catch her breath.

The hours were early, but the sun was shining bright, marking the beginning of the scorching summer season of northern-India. Devotees returning after their prayers gave her spare fruit, few even gave her money. She appreciated the money over the eatables as this will increase her saved total. Since last year she had been stealing one coin daily from her daily collection before handing it over to her mother, who had no clue about her new habit.

The loud rattling noise of the opening of the shop-shutter alerted her; the umbrella store was finally open. Excited, she crossed the narrow lane with long steps and was at the entrance in a few seconds. The shopkeeper was lighting incense sticks while muttering some prayers under his breath. He was a middle-aged man in the late forties but looked older due to grey hairs and big potbelly. Before she could have stepped inside, the half-closed eyes of the shopkeeper opened completely and irritation flashed in them.

“Hey girl, stop! What do you want?” he growled.

She quietly stepped back not afraid of his anger, she was used to this treatment.

“I want an umbrella”, she said with sheer excitement. 

“I don’t have any old umbrellas to give you, come back later. Now go, don’t waste my time.”

“No, you don’t understand. I want to buy one; I have money.”

The irritation was replaced with curiosity by now.

“How much money do you have?” 

“Wait…”

The girl took out a container from her bag and emptied it on his counter. Coins, lots of them, sat in a small heap. 

“Please count these.”

“1, 2, …363.”

“You have three hundred and sixty-three rupees. Which one do you want to buy? Look around, take your time.” He asked her knowing very well that there was a small spectrum which she could choose from.

“That one in the top right corner- the big one in bright sky-blue colour”, she replied instantly without even sparing a glance to others.

The shopkeeper smiled at her innocence; he knew the umbrella was way out of her budget.

“You hardly looked; look again, maybe you will like something else better.” 

“No, I want this one. Amma will like it”, she said, a soft smile played on her lips.

Her mother has always loved clear skies; she often says that it’s because of the sunshine and colours, but even as a little girl, she knows that the reasons are much more pragmatic. Their life on the road is much easier when there is no rain and the sun shines, more people are there on the streets to beg from. Without the rain, it is easier for them to find a place to sleep; the more uninterrupted the day, more the coins collected which means more food. The list went on but she didn’t tell all this to him, the last thing she wanted was his pity.

“My mother loves a clear blue sky. How much this costs?” she said with a small pause.

“Why an umbrella? You can buy yourself a decent dress; it will be more useful”, said the shopkeeper looking at her old Salwar-Kameez.

“I have clothes; I need the umbrella”, she said with a small voice.

He decided to give her the umbrella. A little monetary loss seemed okay to him this time.

“Here, take this. Sixty-three rupees is your balance.” He handed her the umbrella, showed her how to use it properly and put sixty-three coins back in her plastic can.

“Bring it back whenever it breaks down, I’ll fix it for you.”

She walked out of the shop with a big smile on her proud face. She knew that her mother would be very angry once she sees the umbrella; she would probably beat her up in frustration. All of this didn’t seem to upset her one bit; she was content knowing that when the rains will come this year, Amma will have a personal clear blue sky, protecting her.


Some love and compassion is all our world needs; make the most of this festive season by sharing the warmth. And if you liked the story, do tell me, I always love to hear from you all!

Much love, AS

45 thoughts on “The Big-Blue Umbrella”

  1. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Regards!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will not mind provided that proper credit is provided with a link to the original content. With that being said I would want to approve each request on a case to case basis.
      Please provide a link to your blog, as I would want to make myself familiar with your blog.

      Like

  2. I could see and feel the anticipation of this precious little girl. I could visualize everything in your story. Beautifully written. Congratulations on your publication as well. Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us. Big hugs and love ❤️ from Joni

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Joni. It really means a lot to me ❤️❤️. I am elated that you enjoyed it and I am always more than excited to share whatever I write because of amazing friends like you who are always there to support me. 😘😘
      Much love ❤️♥️, Bulbul

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh Bulbul this is such a beautiful story for so many reasons. It made me smile and I could almost see her anticipation, the excitement in her eyes as they went right to the (Blue Sky Umbrella) the fact that you wrote such a lovely piece tells me a lot about your sweet heart. Thank you for sharing your work. Love Joni

        Liked by 1 person

        1. (Me blushing 😊) you always say such nice things! THANKS SO MUCH ❤️❤️
          I am glad that it made you smile, it was written for a themed collections on love and when I thought about writing something on love, it practically wrote itself. 🙂
          And the fact that you liked it so much tells so much about yours 😉❤️😘
          Much love and hugs 💞❤️

          Liked by 2 people

    1. 😊😊 Thank you so much dear! I am really glad that you like it.
      Thank you for the support and encouragement!
      We were probably with the other umbrellas, giving the Blue Umbrella some advice to always protect the girl! 🙂
      Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the appreciation, I am grateful! 🙂
      I am sure you can write even better stories, it’s just a matter of practice 😉
      It was my pleasure, our moms are definitely our sunshine! ❤😍👍
      Cheers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, DitDot, for reading. I am very glad that you enjoyed it. I really appreciate your kind and encouraging words.
      Cheers and Keep warm, my friend 🙂

      Like

    1. Thanks so much, Manoj, for reading and appreciating it. It means a lot to me. 🙂
      And I agree completely, sometimes we fail to appreciate the little things which make our lives so much easier!
      Cheers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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