The Clown's Ghost
The Clown's Ghost6 mins 49.3K 6 mins 49.3K
“Dear students, the torch bearers of the nation, let’s raise our hands, in unison, if we all agree, that there’s one God, and one aim in life, and that is to be a good person. Man’s misery is our tears, poverty is our bondage, and discrimination is a disease which needs eradication. We are all moving towards a better nation and the path will be paved by you my dear friends.” The minister’s voice drowned in the huge round of applause that broke out in the gallery in response to his Children’s Day speech.
It was followed by an endless round of garlanding by obsequious sycophants. A little farther, at the corner, stood a clown, with a half-grinning-half-dreamy drooping face. As the minister’s car made its way out through a swarm of news reporters, a pair of gloved hands throbbed against its glass.
The car halted. A forever-grinning masked face showed up.
“Hail thee Master! I have a message," bowed the clown.
The minister peeked at him. “From whom?”
“The Almighty, Master."
Taking him to be a lunatic, the minister gestured his driver to move on.
“We are destined to meet,” chortled the clown.
The ominous sneer, the raised eyebrows, the ever-grinning parted mouth made him look devilish. Irritated by his sudden appearance, the minister pulled up the window pane and the car sped up as it went around the corner.
The following morning, the minister lay on his easy chair, relishing his tea, when his phone rang.
“Good news sir! The valley is all ours. The slums will be shifted to the outskirts. The agitation of the inhabitants has been pacified," laughed the caller.
“Well done," chuckled the minister as he ended the call and walked over to the window.
He looked over the skyline and prided at his potential. As he gazed at the skyscrapers, he realized how similar they are to human ambition. Farfetched, unrelenting towers of ego that owns the city. He looked down at the tiny human figures and pitied them for their ignorance. From his window, the humans and the vehicles on the road looked like toys. Suddenly, he noticed someone familiar standing at one end of the road. His face was not visible. He was wearing a hat and a crowd thronged around him. It did not take the minister long to recognize the clown, selling masks to passersby. At night, the highway was desolate. So was his life, free from all intruders.
The minister's wife had passed away nine years ago. He didn’t remarry. Ministers who remarry break their own kingdoms. Moreover, he never solely depended on his wife for his carnal desires. He did not have shortage of company. He had a son who had grown up to a spoiled brat. He had recently made headlines for rash driving in which a vendor was killed. After fixing things with the lawyer for the brat’s rescue, while he was driving back home, he saw an unexpected gathering on the road. Finding no other way, the driver had to screech the car to a halt. The minister put down the window pane to find out what was going on. It was then that he heard a familiar voice.
One pack of humour with a medley of flavor.
Master, my mask is thy strongest armour.
It was the joker displaying his miscellany of masks. Spotting the minister's car the crowd dispersed and the clown came forward.
“Hail thee Master! A word from the Lord," he bowed with an air of nonchalance. The minister turned away from him and drove off.
The clown’s sudden creepy appearances came as an intrusion to his insouciance. He continued to be mysteriously followed everywhere.
A week later, when he reached the Parliament, he came to know that a clown had died at one of the gates and that there was lot of chaos surrounding his body. To feed his curiosity and to also protect his image, he went to the site. He grimaced, aghast at what lay in front of him. Sprawling on the ground with an unusual ataraxia was the joker. As dead as a maple leaf. Deep down somewhere, the minister breathed a sigh of relief.
That night, his mind was shrouded with thoughts of the clown. He hauled his weary limbs and slumped against the cushions. He couldn’t sleep. Suddenly, a distant voice came to his ears.
He sat up, alert, chary of believing his ears, the voice was too familiar. He tried to switch on the lights.
He stood up with vigilant eyes and tried to scan the room. No one was visible. He went to the window and peeped outside. The streets were empty. No one could be seen. His heart started throbbing.
"Turn around, Master,” said the voice.
The minister turned cautiously trying to comprehend the impending disaster. A sharp chill ran down his spine when his eyes fell on the mirror. The clown was inside it!
“You?" The minister's voice shook. He blinked and pinched himself as he could not trust his eyes any more.
“Death can’t separate thee from thy servant, Master.” The clown grinned as he hung his head to one side and balanced his hat.
The minister couldn't believe. He tried to muster courage and asked, “What do you want?”
“To remove all the masks, Master.”
“All the masks?” The minister was puzzled.
The clown chuckled and said, “Masks thrive in disguise!”
“What do you mean?" Stammered the minister.
“Hahahaha," a shrill laughter filled the room. "Your son has got bail, Master. It's a bit strange,” continued the clown.
The minister was taken aback.
“Who are you?” He squinted.
“An envoy, Master.”
“Reveal your face," commanded the minister.
The clown pulled out his mask. As he was pulling out, another emerged.
Immediately, another mask emerged. “The valley is destined to slip from your hands. It belongs to the poor”, said a gruff voice.
“The opposition sent you?”, the minister’s voice cautious now.
The joker burst into laughter as he removed the mask.
A third mask showed up, a sad, drooping face.
“What else do you know?”, asked the minister, with impatient apprehension.
The fourth mask emerged slowly, with glowing eyes, and a demon’s snare.
“Why do you keep money inside statues, Minister? Don’t you have a bank account? How much did you gain by licensing the illegal export of coal?”
The minister’s throat went dry. He retreated. As far away from the mirror as possible until he hit the wall. The last mask came off and hit the floor. It was none other than his own face gaping at him with the same devilish grin! The minister collapsed as a spine chilling laughter diffused into the air. Thus, the clown, a farrago of allegory and certitude, was gone forever.