A Clown I am a clown, and am proud to call myself one. My mother used to say that it is a great deed to diminish someone's sorrow and pain and gift him joy and happiness. It takes a lot of hard work to convert someone's tears into smiles. I have to cry to make them laugh, I have to fall from great heights to make them jump with joy. It takes a great deal of courage to make people laugh. And, I can proudly say that I do my job with uttermost sincerity. Among the various get-ups of a clown, my favourite one is when I have to paint black tears under my eyes and a red line arising from my from the tip of my lips, stretching downwards, forming an inverted smile. I think it is the best to describe a clown's life; he cries, and people laugh. That day, it was City's Grandeur Fair, one of the merriest days of the year. And just like every year, it was held at a place ten miles away from the city. The place was quite aloof from rest of the world. No one lived there, and it was surrounded by a forest from all sides. It was our fair manager, Mr.Bostling who wanted a place that's big, yet cheap; and this place dutifully obeyed all his conditions. On the periphery of the place, there were swings, slides, merry-go-rounds, sand boxes and, of course, trains. Most of the children could be found loitering around at this side of the fair. On the inner side, there were game stalls, hotdog stands, burger stands and also, barbers(God knows what are they doing in a fair!). Children drag their mothers and fathers to the games stand. And, like a professional hunter hunting out for rabbits, they aim at the empty coke cans and try to knock them down, but without much success. If they win -which rarely happens-, they get a big fluffy white bear. At the centre of the place is a big oval tent, decorated with the seven colours of rainbow. It is my home, my temple, my workplace. My performance was scheduled at 11O'clock, and it was to last for one hours. I had planned out my time. I would begin with a silent act, then I would move on to some juggling, then I would do some cycling around the place, then fire playing and then ballooning. In the last, I would call my faithful companion, and my only friend in this whole world, Chimp. I would play music and he would dance, I would cycle, and he would sit on the back and read newspaper. He is less like a monkey and more like a kind and faithful man. I met him three years back, when I had gone to a pet shop near my house. I desperately wanted a pet, but who knew that I would end up getting a friend also. He was only one day old when I saw him. He was kept in the corner, caged. His skinny little hands hung from his body like weak worn out branches of a tree, his feet were weak, he could barely stand upon them, his small round moist eyes could have melted even the hardest of hearts. He stood still and kept looking at me with his glittering eyes. I never came to know what made his eyes moist, nor I would ever like to know. I was told that he was also the cheapest pet in the shop. The owner of the shop told me that he had been deserted by the others of his group. I took him into my arms and bought him home. So, as you see, it has been three years since I have been living with him, and he didn't ever try to even stir out of the house. I guess he is really happy with me. My watch says it's 12:30. Everything had turned out to be the way I had planned, the show was a great success. All the children loved Chimp, some even came to me afterwards and shook hands with him. Some little girls came to meet him but were scared. They hid behind their mothers and kept looking at him. Chimp turned out to be really good host. He shook hands with each child and even gave toffees to some of them that I had kept in the brown pouch that hung around his waist. That brown pouch was really dear to him, or rather the dearest thing he had. And if he didn't find it at it's proper place in the morning, he would start shrieking at the top of his voice, and would jump around the house looking for it. Sometimes, I would wake up before him and hide his pouch under my pillow. And then, when he wakes up, he starts jumping around the house, looking for it. After some time, he becomes tired and sits down on his little bed. Then, I would place the pouch in front of him and would laugh out loud -this is how I tell him that it was prank-. He always understood that it was a joke and never became angry at me. One day, he woke up early morning and hid behind the cupboard. I searched the whole house but couldn't find him. Finally, I sat down on the bed, shattered, thinking that he had deserted me. Then, he came out from behind the cupboards and started jumping here and there, and showed his teeth -this is how he express his laughter-. That day I came to know, that he was the thing most dear to me in this whole world. This is how we drive away our loneliness, by playing pranks at each other. If I ever have to select between the most faithful man on earth and Chimp, I would go ahead and select Chimp, without a second thought. He has never been unfaithful to me. He finds a father in me, and I find my whole world in him. I didn't even get time to change my clothes, and was still wearing my rainbow clown dress. I came out of the tent and sat down on the wooden bench with my friend. There was utter silence all around. Though the show was good, but the day had turned out to be a bad one. I was running short of money and wasn't able to feed myself and my friend. Even in the faint light of the lamp, I could see sadness on his face. �Am I a bad friend, Chimp?�, I said He said something, something short. Maybe he said yes, maybe no. After some time he became uneasy and started jumping around the bench. He sat on my lap and shrieked. As a friend, I could understand his anxiety. I was the world's most incapable friend, I couldn't even feed my pal. �I' sorry, I've run out of money. Even I haven't eaten anything since morning�, I said, feeling sorry for him. I tried everything to stop him from jumping around and making silly noises, but he wouldn't listen. Then I did something I had never done before. I shouted at him. He replied back with tears. That was the second time in my life I had seen him crying, and probably the last. Finally he climbed down from my lap and sat at some distance from me. For a long time he kept on looking at the sky. I don't know whether he was gazing at the sky, the stars, the moon, or the God, who was hiding in the darkness, laughing at us. We didn't say a word to each other for an hour, and his gaze towards the sky was unaltered. He stood there like a devotee praying to God. Finally, after a few minutes he slept. My friend slept without food. He was shivering with cold. I took out my handkerchief and covered him with it. Tears were trickling down my cheeks. Due to the busy schedule I forgot that I had bought two biscuits, one for him and the other one for me. I placed one biscuit besides him, and with a broken heart, I left for my home, leaving him behind. I was getting really hard for me to feed him. I expected that he would find his way to one of the nearby forests and would live a happy life there. Probably he would make friends with the other animals there. He would be able to feed himself and wouldn't have to work with a clown for it. That day I got the answer as to why my parents had deserted me. I forgave them, and hoped that Chimp also forgives me one day. Living the life of a clown is not an easy task. Behind his smiling face are hidden thousands of tears. The world laughs at him and he cries in alone. Smile for a person always comes with tears for the another. A clown can make anyone happy, but not himself. He makes the world happy, but is himself bereft of it. On my way home, I sat on a bench and wept. The tears washed away the red paint on my face. Once again, I was left all alone in this world. Then I heard a small cry. I stood up and looked in all directions, but couldn't find anyone. There was a small truck parked in front of me. I went to see who was behind it. It was a small boy. He was wearing almost nothing at all. Tears were sliding down his cheeks. I don't know if it was the hunger or cold that had made him cry. I knew that I had to do something for him. I took out some red balls from my pocket and started juggling them. At first he didn't even notice that I was there. But later, he wiped off his tears and paid attention to me. I knew what I had to do next. I took out a colourful handkerchief from my pocket and placed it on my hand. He was astonished to see the colour of my glove change. Then I took out a coin and flung it in the air. It never came down. He took off his eyes from me, looked up and kept waiting for the coin to come down. And when it didn't, he smiled, and even clapped. Then, there was just one last thing left to be done. I took out the other biscuit and gave it to him. At first he hesitated, but then he ate it. He couldn't have been more happy. There was a big pleasant smile on his face. I left the place, for I had nothing else for him. The poor little boy made me realise what I am. I am a clown; and a clown's job is to make people happy, no matter how sad he is. The big smile on his face made me believe that I am a good clown. I did my job, and earned his smile. A fire cracker has to burn itself, before it can light the world. And a clown has to shed tears, before he can make someone laugh. I learned a lesson that day. Happiness is never born, it is always taken from someone. I went home from there, sad because I was all alone, and happy because I gifted happiness to someone on the way. 1
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