Into The Woods
Into The Woods5 mins 991 5 mins 991
Occasionally the lights flickered through holes in Sonu’s tent; illuminating the otherwise dull ambiance and then resumed the comatose. For others, it may be exhilarating to watch the graceful swing of the acrobats, a jest of the clown and the array of kaleidoscopic performances. Watch the circus to get away from their mundane activities and reminisce the lost fragments of their childhood.
For Sonu, it was the cue to rise from his nap and get ready for the same show. For a purpose so different from others.
Since he was four, he had learned to juggle the rings and by nine he had mastered the art of juggling while walking on a thin rope. Now at fourteen, he has traveled much more than what other people do, be it entertaining the masses in the east or performing on the west coast.
Yet he has seen the world less, for being confined within the boundaries of the circus compound.
“I want to become a ringmaster,” he had said to his mother when he last visited his village. His other had gasped in response and chided him playfully, taking his words for granted. She had said that he was still young and could join the brick factory on his next return. But he rebelled against the idea of working in a place where his father put in sweat and toil but got death in return.
He couldn’t understand why his sister was applauded for dreaming to become a teacher but he was criticized for his aspirations. Maybe because he had never been to a school and didn’t know the importance of a teacher or because they didn’t know the worth of a ringmaster. But he wouldn’t want his little sister to join a circus, so he worked hard to give his sister what she deserved.
His trance was broken by the ruffling outside his tent.
“Ten minutes till spec.”
“Yes, I’ll be ready,” he replied groggily, still sleepy.
He rolled his mat and started getting ready. He wore his colorful suit and the frilled overcoat. He arranged the bow and when he was sure it struck nicely at his neck he made his way towards the arena.
The clowns were also on their way with several sleek horses adorned with jeweled harness behind them. He went to fetch his rings with his fellow performers but stopped near the menagerie, hearing the purr of the big cat crouched at the corner of the cage. Singha was an old tiger. Years of trials and tribulations had made him lethargic. His coat was weary too. The animal sat there in all its glory unaware of the encroachment offered by a young human. Sonu had always been amazed by the magnificence of the beast. So gigantic and enthralling in beauty. It was dangerous to control such strength. That is why he wanted to become a ringmaster. To tame the proud animal.
“Your act is on the cue young boy.” He heard the Ringmaster say from behind him.
The Ringmaster was a well-built man in his mid-forties. His eyes seemed tired but still, there was an intimidating gleam in them. He was dressed in a silky white shirt with frilled sleeves. His black trousers were neatly tucked into a pair of high black leather boots.
Asif recognizing his master Singha stood up, but when he sensed Sonu, the trespasser he gave a loud roar and started pacing in his cell. The Ringmaster made a hand signal in the air and gave two claps and the tiger retreated to his original position.
Without any initial thoughts, Sony voiced his feelings.
“Will you teach me how to do that?”
The ringmaster gave him a smile and patted his head.
“You are a brave boy; I will surely need a helping hand as I think my old hands need some rest. It will be of great help if you are able to take some of its burdens.”
Sonu nodded his eyes gleaming with the mirth of being provided with the opportunity to live his dream. “You can come here at any time of the day and I may be able to teach you a w of the basics.” “I would love to learn them.”
Sonu heard the announcement of his upcoming performance and thanking the Ringmaster, he made his way back to the arena but not before promising, that he would be present tomorrow on time.
The ringmaster was late. He stood by the forest gazing at the mysterious labyrinth. The crickets grated in the bushes, it was soon going to be dark. The Quite an eerie of the woods lured him with its fresh earthy aroma, the smell of moisture. Tempting him with its vastness and a sense of freedom. The rattling of the cage drew his attention and he saw the tiger gazing at the woods too.
Singha was looking at the woods with such longing. He has always thought the animal to be dominating and domineering but now he could see the flecks of his eyes craving for some respite.
The tiredness around its edges, the murkiness of his coat. Like it wanted to run into the woods. Into the wild. His Home.
The ringmaster has given him the key earlier. He looked at the small piece of metal and then towards the beast inside the cage. He thought about all his dreams. In his hand lay the key. A key to
ruin all his aspirations. A key to building someone else’s. On an impulse, he put the key into the keyhole and withdrew the heavy chain from the bolt. The rusted iron of the gate creaked as the door opened. The tiger stood there at the corner as if confused with all the happenings around him. He looked at him and then towards its freedom and then it ran straight into the woods. His trotting figure disappearing in the blackness of the night. With him, he saw his dream fade, but oddly he felt relieved. And happy.
Inside he heard his name being called. They were announcing his name to come to the arena. Shaking his head, he made his way towards his tents. It was going to be a long night.