Tuesday, 29 January 2008

gLAdYs At tHe TuESday mAtiNEe

And off to the circus it was today! Front row seats to start with and lunch with a clown and two trapeze artists to finish it off. Inbetween I got to see a never-ending stream of circus acts--it started with the trapeze, then went on to balancing acts on a steel rod, tightrope, trick skaters, a "boneless" lady contortionist, daredevil motorbikers (one of whom turned out to be a woman)-- actually there were quite a few daredevil stunts, my heart was in my mouth quite often especially during the "ring of death" which was this huge double-ended pendulum like-thing that swirled high in the sky while the circus people strolled upon it most casually. One man even rode a unicycle on it!

There were tumblers who were great, and I thought they would have been even greater if they had clown make-up on--they were both brilliant and funny, well-coordinated and it was clear that they were having fun.

Next a young girl went up on this ring-swing-type-thing (yes, I haven't quite got the technical circus jargon right so you'll be seeing lots of hyphenated words in this post) and did all sorts of gasp-inspiring twirls and balancing feats up in the air, to the Titanic song! (And it was much more interesting and magical to watch than Leonardo and Kate spreading their wings on the tip of the Titanic!)

Then came a doggie troupe - 3 poms, 2 dalmatians and a poodle. They were adorable and were really happy dogs. No animal cruelty there .. their tails just never stopped wagging!!

After the doggies, it was the oddly named Dental Act. I prefer to call it "the teeth-twirlers"! All these women spinning and twirling, suspended in the air, and holding on only with their teeth! (I bet these women's husbands are careful never to go to bed angry .. OUCH).

Trick cyclists, all women, came on and did a bunch of balancing tricks, wheelies, etc. As they rode out, a bareback rider galloped in on a very beautiful horse.

(Incidentally I found out later that there's a circus superstition about the number of animals and this is why the circus has seven horses, seven elephants, etc. I only counted three camels, though. But I guess three is enough. They're pretty bad-tempered. And somewhat malodorous. I wonder if anyone collects all the wonderful elephant/camel/horse manure .. it would be such good fertiliser.)

But I digress. After the horse, an elephant trundled into the ring and performed a puja. Then a Russian woman with a lovely bum did all sorts of spinning and balancing trick with her legs in the air (lying on a platform on her back) then added hula hoops and finally juggling balls. Talk about multi-tasking!

Birds were next! Macaws and cockatoos. Heaven. They were such beautiful birds and so very sweet. (As I was putting Neembu and Maska to bed tonight I promised to tell them all about the bird act tomorrow morning).

Bicep man was next. Well, that's not what he was called but man, what muscles. His arms and shoulders were incredible. He did a whole lot of gymnastics that pretty much explained why he had these incredible muscles - red ribbon wrapped around his wrists and then up into the air to do all sorts of twists and turns entirely on his arms' strength.

There was Chinese plate-spinning by the girls and then the bad-tempered camels did a trot around and some stunts, accompanied by their equally bad-tempered trainer. Every time he whacked them on the backside I was reminded of cops whacking prisoners at a police station with their lathis. This was the only performance for which I could not clap. The dogs, the birds, the elephants even, seemed to be having fun, but the camels were just really pissed off to be there. One of them actually looked quite disdainful. (Disdainful but not miserable, fortunately. I know .. the animal-lovers get into a huff about animal performances at circuses .. but I shall not judge, my favourite man gave me this funda about throwing the first stone, and if I can apply that to child abusers, then I can apply it to circuses).

So away from social issues, and back to the show! A trampoline act, a knife act and a fire-eater (who was accompanied by a rather embarrassed-looking young woman who danced vaguely around while he posed and leapt like a matador and spat huge flames out of his mouth).

Another animal act! An elephant who played cricket. No singles, only sixes. Team India could use this, but I recall noticing some rather massive (and very pendulous) vulva and so I guess SHE wouldn't be eligible for the men's team.

Next she had a snack and a "drink" and did a tipsy thing, before taking a nap in the ring. Another elephant came in to play doctor with her. (Now, now, just because I mentioned the vulva don't go thinking perverse thoughts). He just checked her heart with a giant stethoscope and gave her an injection.

The show ended with more of the tumbling/gymnastic stuff, this time it was people jumping off one end of a see-saw and someone on the other end getting hurtled up into the air (very Loony Tunes, don't you think?!) and into a nice comfy sofa that was balanced on the end of a long rod on someone's shoulders.

And then it was over, just like that. I wish they'd had a ringleader, though--the guy with the top hat--to compere the show; I felt that would have made it nicer, given the whole thing more pizzazz. Instead there was just a voice over a microphone. Also the assistants handling the ropes etc. would have looked nicer if they were in some sort of costume.

And now you must be wondering: what about the clowns? Well, they were in and out throughout the show, and I thought I would put that in a separate post as this one is long enough as it is.

But before I go, I must tell you that I PETTED A HIPPO TODAY! One of the most dangerous animals in the world! But this one was quite benign. Still .. a hippo! After the show, William, one of the clowns, took me round the back, behind the ring and I got to meet Raja the hippo. This too, warrants a separate post. Perhaps a Haiku Noodle, even. So I'll save that for later.

I also met the dogs, a bunch of birdies, and ended my wonderful day at the circus sitting in a tent with William the clown, two trapeze artists (a married couple from Nepal) and a friend of William's who turned out to be an absolute character who regaled us with some rather bizarre ghost stories that centred around the graveyard that just happens to be behind my apartment. And that's yet another post.

But for now, good night. And those of you in Bangalore: GO TO THE CIRCUS! It's on till the 10th of February, shows are at 1, 4 and 7 pm (summer clothing recommended). And at one of these shows, Gladys and Miss Rose will be making a guest appearance. Watch this space!

1 comment:

Jay said...

Fascinating post. You are clearly an interesting person. Tell me more!