Monday, April 6, 2009
My circus memoirs!
It was like an annual family ritual or something.Every year the dreaded circus came to our city and every year my parents got all excited to book the night show tickets for us! Somehow my brother and cousins seemed to enjoy the mere thought of going to the damn circus........every year!!!
It had new names to fool innocent kids like me....... Jumbo circus, King circus, Big jumbo circus......blah blah blah.....Every year the names brought some hope - that this year it will be different, but nothing like that happened!
Somehow my Mom would always manage to book the first row successfully for almost 8-10 years! I guess my prayers for all the first row seats being sold out were in vain. It was always the night show , so no excuses regarding school could be used.
And however hard I tried, the awful day always arrived, school got over fast and the time to go to circus came nearer......enemy at the doorstep, no rather ,I always found myself at the enemies' doorstep! We would arrive at the huge ground that was always empty the rest of the 300 days of the year, and where now stood a big tent in the middle of a mini lake of people, rather like a heavily infected cell in a pool of microbes.There were people to my left ,right, up, down,everywhere ! So many people!!!! I just remembered Mom's instructions to hold her hand tight and not let go. How will a poor little child breath? Yes, I could never breathe till I saw some clear place in front. But wait, that clear place also brought a distinct smell, as it came nearer, NO! I would find myself standing in front of the cages of a lion, a gorilla, an elephant , a hippo. I always wondered what would happen if those animals escaped out of those cages? Would they scare away all the scary people?
After struggling to settle down and barely managing to catch a breath of fresh air, awful, loud music would be played and the circus clowns would enter! I always went pale with horror when they walked on the edge of the circus ring, the dwarf clown hitting the tall one with a bat and trying to talk to the kids in front row! Ducking down , hiding my face with my hands -I had tried them all from time to time- useless acts of desperation.
The worst of all was yet to arrive..... the attraction of the night , cricket match between the two elephant teams. I love elephants but do they really have to play cricket? Cant they just be -peace loving as they are naturally? How I wished to escape ! They always put a net all around the border of the playing field, but it was not tall enough( and good enough) to convince a scared little kid like me. Those jumbo elephants came with a bat which looked much like a piece of chalk to me. And the ball they used to play cricket with was actually a football! I never lost sight of the ball. What if it hits me right in the face?
The lions and the tigers arrived always chained and locked up . They were made to walk in circles on their front paws and made to jump through fire. I never really comprehended the reason for this. Oh how I wished to snatch the whip that the trainer carried around to threaten the lions!
Need I really mention my state when the acrobatics started? All I wished for was to go home and drift away to a much calmer and peaceful place inside me! A place where there was no loud music, no weird clowns, no bat-wielding elephants and certainly no footballs!