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The show goes on

The artistes are doing something that needs enormous courage and they deserve to feel proud of themselves, says P. Sujatha Varma


The absence of a secure home, school, friends and the inability to live life that others of their age enjoy, does not bog them down. For, they realize that if we cannot change our circumstances, our only option is to change our attitude. Jumping into the situation and accepting it whole-heartedly had been an excruciatingly difficult task. But instead of resisting the circumstances, they chose to befriend them. And voila! Amazing possibilities came to the fore.

Their rare courage and spirit that evolves, adapts, overcomes and shines through every spectacular feat they perform in the public glare unfolds their awe-inspiring tales.

It takes a great deal of patience, a positive outlook, toil and guts to battle the odds that are associated with life in a circus company. Artistes of The Great Bombay Circus showing in the city are no different.

Unfazed by the rough and tumble of their nomadic lifestyle, they have grown to be achievers who work for a goal not with the perspective of winning¸ but with the aim of emerging a better person. It is this attitude that makes them a champion material.

Sprightly at 59

"The best thing about working for a circus company is that we are always on the move. We see new places and meet people from different cultural backgrounds," says Tulasidas Chowdary, one of the jokers in the Bombay Circus.

Quite sprightly for his age, 59, Tulasidas is all of 3 feet and 5 inches. He ran away from home at Chapra district in Bihar, when he was in seventh class and joined a circus company. Ever since then, there was no turning back, literally.

Affectionately called `maamu' by his troupe members, Tulasidas is a content man today.

Their togetherness and the team spirit not only heals and touches their hearts, but also gives them hope and strength to deal with life. Driven by a rugged determination to do something worthwhile, the troupe members constantly help each other to further hone their skills and present better shows.

"I never found myself alienated or helpless. The friendly atmosphere has helped me rejuvenate my spirit and recharge my energey-levels," says Anita, a native of Nepal, who excels in the risky feat of rope walking.



BALANCING ACT An artiste performing a difficult feat with zeal. PHOTOS: RAJU. V

Tracing back her association with circus life to nine years ago, she attributes it to her `strong desire' to be part of this age-old novel show.

The world is on a supersonic mode and most people consider activities like circus as `outdated' and `obsolete'. But Dilipnadh Nair, one of the owners who run the shows with the help of a huge team of 400 artistes, including the technical staff, refuses to agree. "In places like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, we are doing a far better business than what we did in the past.

This is because people are tired of television and cinema shows, which do not excite them any more. They want live entertainment, which I can provide," he announces.

Nair is critical about the government decision to ban use of animals in circus shows and prevent girls below 14 years to from working in these shows. "We need them younger so as to train them skillfully," he explains.

Sangeeta, Puja and Bunu are also acrobats of great caliber from Nepal. Sangeeta has been on the circus scene for the past 12 years and has been performing the splendid candle dance with remarkable ease, ever since she was a six-year-old.

Puja enthralls her audience with her brilliant ring dance. "It took me an year's hard work and an unwavering focus to perfect the dance," she says flashing an infectious smile.

Keeping the spark of creativity alive in him. Subhash of Kolkata, entertains the crowd by pedaling the world's tiniest bicycle.

Flying trapeze

In addition to the public adulation, the care and concern they show for one another matters the most to them.

They take time off from their daily grueling sessions to introspect, pray and understand what they really want from life. With correct thought, the right action, the best intentions and selfless service, the rewards do accrue.

What do they do for a break from this rigmarole? "When the daily hustle and bustle gets too much, it is time to pause and reconnect with our near and dear ones at our native place," explains Seetu who has more reason than one to feel grateful to the circus life.

She has found a life partner in Rajesh, a Keralite and a flying trapeze who is passionate about his work. Despite their polarity in cultures, love cements their relationship.

With no regrets for landing in an unusual destination, they vow to continue entertaining the world till their physical and mental state would allow them to. Instead of being reduced to pawns in the hands of fate, they opted for a new life, a life of their own.

Fighting against odds, they pray together with folded hands that the show must go on.

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