It is so easy, this mask I wear. It almost feels like second skin now, the photographs from a couple of years back show some stranger who looks like me staring back at me. Where is he now? Why did this happen to me? The answers I seek will forever elude me, I am so sure, but does that mean I stop looking. I know for sure nobody sees the broken heart behind the perpetually painted smile on my face, the face which they see and like, but do not recognize. The antics I carry out with the twisted limbs the moment the blinding bright lights go on, nobody sees the pain I go through, all they see is the clown with a painted smile, the one who scratches his armpits like an ape, the one who rides a unicycle waving his arms like someone drowning in the high seas, the clown who has no other emotions except a grin that was there, come rain or shine.
Life never was a bed of roses, jumping off from the terrace too did not seem too lucrative at the moment. The flyer that came in the newspaper announced vacancies in the circus company, so is it my fault that they found me fit to be a clown? The sentence from the owner was the most saddest of all, “People like you, whose eyes look like wells of sadness can smile only by making others smile”.
Didn’t I make them smile enough? Getting them to laugh by making fun of myself was never part of the job description. Will there be a day when the two faces need not be kept separate, when I need not hide and run away from who I am?
Preeti read out the passages to an audience that sat dumbstruck, for they obviously had never given a thought to the clown who made them laugh at the circus. Now this little girl, in her neatly plaited pig tails and a brown check skirt made them see the other face of the circus clown, made them realize that there is another identity to those people other than that of the clown, that they too are people with needs, wants, dreams and desires exactly like them.
She did not know the reason why the audience was so enthralled, a few of them wiped a lone tear that escaped their eyes while the rest of them stood up and clapped till she left the stage and occupied her seat with the other students. She decided then and there to thank her father for letting her read out a page from his diary.