THE SHOWMAN

It’s going to be another long, sleepless night. He stares up at the ceiling. The walls were pasted with bright posters and graffiti but the ceiling was bare. Yet it was the ceiling which supported it all. He got up to gaze up at the inky black sky. Did he want his life to resemble like this? No, but then, no matter how much the so-called motivational speakers rant, some things in life just cannot be decided at your own will. He was the showman, the conjurer, the laugher, the clown. Every day with the rise of the sun he would don his happy mask and step out into a world, where grief & sorrow always seem to gain an upper hand over happiness. A world steeped in hatred, jealousy and violence with no signs of any of those ebbing away in the future. As the sunlight penetrates every nook spreading its warmth, he too mixes with the people hoping to bring a smile on their faces. A man at the outset but still a child at heart, he cracks stupid jokes at which he himself laughs with such mirthfulness that people around him declare—this man knows no sorrows!

Grief is like an isolated iceberg but happiness flows freely like the sea. And he strived to be the harbinger of happiness, at least for other fellow beings. He didn’t care that his jokes may not always be rib-tickling, for he used to complement it with laughter so care free that his friends would always be drenched in its glee. Some made fun of him, mocking him. Any other person would have scorned at and hated those people; he on the contrary smiled back at them. Others thought he had a rhino’s skin, but he knew laughter was the best antidote for any malady. Soon it waned out and steadily those people too were soaked in his happiness. They derived pleasure by pointing out his eccentric and child-like behavior, and he took heart that he had succeeded in making them happy. Ah! He wished to be the sun all throughout his life never realizing that even the sun smolders from within. Like the ‘source of all energy on earth’ he strived to become the ‘source of all happiness’. Aloof in his own realm he notices that the sun is fast setting over the horizon. Darkness comes as a consort of the approaching night and engulfs everything under its shadow. Even though the clock says that both darkness and light are equally divided over a 12 hour span, it’s the former which always seem to linger on in his psyche. His mask of happiness works no more in the blazing darkness as he finds it even more penetrating than the sunshine. Darkness brings with it the lurking shadows of a miserable past. A past speckled with lost hopes and a failed dream which raises its ugly head as soon as it finds him alone. He too savors his solitary moments like anybody else but only when engulfed by the warmth of the sun, not in this icy cold darkness. For in this cold darkness, his tears form icicles which threaten to stab him in the chest. If only he wouldn’t have made those decisions life would have been so less complicated…

He looks out of the window: the crescent moon is in hide-and-seek with the drifting clouds. Sigh! Even the moon is not lonely! He thinks about the person who made him what he is now; even that person is happy in a different world safely passing the night. Suddenly he yearned for those comforting arms that had held him in his past realizing at the same instant that your past, like darkness only leaves you with a feeling of emptiness. If someone saw him now, he would never believe that he is that same joker who makes everyone laugh with his inexhaustible humor. He chuckles to himself thinking about his clever disguise. At times he ponders whether he is right in fooling people like this. He reflects that at least he’s not hurting anyone but only spreading the joy of laughter, unlike his past which compelled him to don the mask in the first place. If only sleep could come and rescue him from these troubled thoughts. Sleep is but then a luxury of the peaceful mind that lives a normal life, not fit for a turbulent mind like his.

He could now see from the corner of his eye the first glimmer of light across the horizon. At last his unfailing friend is here after a long break! It’s time to put on his mask again as he composes himself for yet another day amidst the normal mortals. He glances towards the western sky where the darkness is beating a hasty retreat against the onslaught by the bright rays of the sun. He hopes one day he would finally be able make peace with his past and sleep away into the night because it’s this very hope, like the bare ceiling, which is supporting his life. Till that day arrives, he will go on being the showman and making other people’s sorrows bearable.