Welcome to the Circus

Today while I was travelling to office, someone was mentioning there was a circus in town. Incidentally at the time I was reading the book ‘Five go off in a Caravan’, a Famous Five book where the protagonists interact with circus folks. That got me thinking about the fascination the idea of Circus has held for me since childhood. So I thought I will jog through various associations circus holds in my mind and also why a circus seems to be a fascinating setting for fiction writers to set their stories in.

For all my fascination with circuses, I have actually been to a circus just twice in my life time – once in Trichy at the age of six and once again in Bangalore at the age of twelve. And actually hardly any memory survives of either occasion. But what remains strong in my memory is the Hindi serial ‘Circus’ and various Enid Blyton series involving circuses. Of course the other association circus brings to my mind are school essays we had to write about visit to the exhibition, the circus, the fair etc. Most of them were torturous and involved learning standard essays on the topics and regurgitating the same on the exam paper. 

To me all the stuff that happens behind the scenes is more fascinating than the show itself. The show itself must be alluring for if that were not so, the rest would be meaningless. Maybe it is just that my fantasy was so over hyped that reality could not measure up or it could be that the ones I had been to may not have been the best in business. Coming back to the point, the idea of people with so many different exotic skills living and travelling together along with animals is indeed quite exciting.  

I always feel we live dual lives – one personal and profession. Some may even have a third one – social. This starts right as children – there is one world out there at school and altogether a different one back at home. I always liked the idea of all worlds merging and people leading just one continuous life. I really loved it when I was in a software company’s onsite team in Germany. We were a small group of Indians at office and the same group used to share apartments, hang out together in evenings and travel around Europe in weekends and holidays. So it gave a kind of cozy feeling. I did not feel that Monday blues so much. The work has to be done – but the same people with who you had fun in the weekend would be there at work also. I see circus life as something like that – a heterogeneous group of people who live and work together as one big family.

And not last but not the least, circus environment provides rich scope for fiction writers in terms of various kinds of people as well as physical settings. No other group can provide such a heterogeneous setting with people of various age groups, gender and regions living together. Not just people but animals as well. And as far as physical settings go, wouldn’t the possibility of fights at the top of a trapeze, within tiger cages and horse stables make an action writer drool?


Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Enid Blyton did write a series of books based on a Circus, did she not? "Galliano's circus" or some such thing, if I remember right. And, yes, I mirror your thoughts about the fascination and attractions of a circus

Cart Hick said...

Yes Suresh. She did.

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