Life is a Circus

This article was published in The Hindu Open Page dated 19th August 2018, with an excellent cartoon by cartoonist Surendra  . I love the illustration of the mother (me) sitting like a circus elephant on a stool and looking fondly at the clown in the tent!

When life is a circus, can a circus tent, be far behind?

That’s what I tell myself everyday as I walk into the home. It helps me cope. You see as soon as I walk into our modest home, apart from a heavily used sofa set (on which I seldom find place to sit when I want to, because it is overrun with books, stationary, toys, papers and coats: relax! It is summer – Chill!), and a dining table (which has not an inch of real estate to spare, what with the pater claiming it as his office on which his laptop and assorted junk sits and the mater using it for her sewing machine and her sewing needs), one also finds a red circus tent with a clown inside.


It was meant to be a fortress – a haven of peace and quiet in a noisy world.

It all started with a sales pitch one evening. The son was trying to sell me a fort. The little fellow was going the salesman on me. I suppose it is frustrating if a customer does not bite. The evening sun shone on his eager face and his voice chirruped louder than the birds. Folks stopped by to see what the furore was about, and wondered why I was being unreasonable about buying a fort. 

Before one runs off with the idea that I buy forts and palaces in my spare time, I must assure you that the fort was going to be engineered with paper, and tape borrowed from, that’s right, from me. I poked holes at the plan dubiously, and tried telling him the obvious answer, “I don’t need a fort!”

“You said you did not need that sheet set, but you bought it, and now you like it. Like that, once you buy the fort, you will like it.” he said.

Fair point, but I got to tell you, a sheet set and a fort are not quite the same things.

“But I am quite happy in our house, why would I need a fort?” I asked. 

“It is your own place to sit, and relax and do stuff Amma. “ Painted that way, the fort did seem appealing. I mean I do crave for a little quiet every now and then. A fort that is my own in the middle of all the everyday drama sounded marvelous.

Sweet are the thoughts that savour of content;
The quiet mind is richer than a crown. – Robert Greene

“But where will you build the fort?”

“Inside the house of course!” said the architect and I quailed. The house is barely big enough for our needs, and when folks come, I land up frantically shoving things into closets and hope no one opens them to have stuff tumble out on them. I certainly don’t have the kind of spare real estate required for building forts in them. 

But the little beaver would not back down. “It will upgrade our house. Remember you gave that man money for putting tiles in the bathroom? He upgraded the bathroom right? (Subject for another blog post) Like that, I will build you a fort and upgrade the house, and you pay me money.”  

This discussion went on for a bit, and things reached an impasse. I hoped the passage of time would make him forget and so on, but I should have known better. When fate socks me, it socks me with a big red flapping hand.

A couple of days later, the son and I were enjoying some down time together while the rest of the family went to Ikea for some shopping.

Imagine my chagrin when they trooped home with a surprise for the beaver. “Your very own tent – ta da da da! “ proclaimed his protective sister, and the fellow hugged her as hard as he could every chance he got for the rest of the day. He invited us into his tent, and it was soon forgotten that the tent was supposed to be made for me.  


So, now there he sits at every opportunity he gets. Last night, I found a pillow I’d been looking for in the tent: he took it in there to lie down and read a book. 

Interior designers may shudder at the aesthetics of it, but the clown inside is immensely happy.

Solitude by Lewis Carroll

I’d give all wealth that years have piled,
The slow result of Life’s decay,
To be once more a little child
For one bright summer-day.


See also:

The Land of Crumpled Cardboards


2 thoughts on “Life is a Circus”

  1. All hail Circus tent and long live its occupant ! Can people around me find out whether IKEA sells bigger circus tent , so that we , bigger children live our life inside, undisturbed by the Ninjago-tv ? An interesting blog ! I am sure IKEA will see increasing sales ,of this indispensable addition/ item , that gives a face-lift to your drawing room ,which without it , was looking dull ! A proud Grandpa !

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