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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Balancing Act…

She was a tightrope walker at a circus. Her job description did not contain any of the fancy, frilly words that we use, to describe jobs. No, there was no ‘competitive advantage’ that she hankered after; there was no ‘blue ocean strategies’ that she applied, and there were no ‘performance metrics’ as such for her.

 

Her life began in a dank, dreary tent, in one corner of the circus. The circus, travelled to various cities, but her wretched home stayed almost the same.

 

She had a simple job. All she had to do, once she stepped onto the rope could be summed up in two words – Stay Alive. She had to use her skills and a bit of luck to ensure that she did not plummet 50 feet below, to almost certain death.

 

There were people who would come to see the show, just in the hope of watching her fall to her death. After all, what could be less exciting than watching someone negotiate a 100 foot journey across a rope, step by step. One does need some excitement, something different, you know.

 

How did she feel about the entire thing, one might ask. One can’t actually say, because she never shared it with anyone. People thought she was aloof and snooty. But, she had a totally different perception. From the heights of her job, on the rare occasions that she did look down on, she caught the glint of expectation, the anticipation of the crowd, waiting for her to fall. Perhaps, she enjoyed those few minutes, when she could look down upon the people who normally looked down upon her.

 

She just couldn’t bring herself to talk to them. Some of them were nice, but the others, she mistrusted.

 

Sometimes, in moments of extreme despair, she wondered what it would be like, to just let go, and watch herself fall freely to the hard earth. But she’d quickly put that thought out of her mind. After all, there were responsibilities she had to fulfill; duties she couldn’t shirk.

 

One fateful day, she had a faint premonition buzzing in her ears. She knew that the day would be significant somehow, in her insignificant, inconsequential life. But, she did not know how. She went about her chores, with anticipation in her heart.

 

Once she got to her stall in the circus, looking dazzling in her jumpsuit with sequined beads and glitter, she saw Him. It was as if she’d been hit by a thunderbolt. In her disturbed, nightmarish dreams, He had been the one who had rescued her from the clutches of the witch; He had been the one who had come riding on his white horse and saved her from the dragon. He was the handsome prince she had dreamed of, all her pitiful life.

 

“It’s time for your act! Get here, quickly!!” yelled her supervisor. With a weary sigh, and a last, wistfully longing look at him, she walked to the ladder that would take her above the ruthless, cruel world to a world where nothing else mattered.

 

With her usual confidence, she took her balancing pole, and positioned herself on the rope. Sure as a mountain goat, she stepped forward and reached the middle of the rope. The crowd applauded. This was her cue to stop, and pretend to wobble a bit to gain some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. She did the needful, and the predictable reaction from the crowd arose.

 

As she watched from the corner of her eye, she caught his gaze. He was looking up at her, mouth agape, tension writ large on his face. She tried moving forward, but she couldn’t tear her gaze away from his face. And then, the inevitable happened. She tripped, and lost her footing!

 

In slow motion, her petite body described an arc through the air, even as the foolish crowd, believing it to be another part of the act, whistled and clapped till they realised that it was no act – she was falling, with nothing but the packed earth to break her fall.

 

Still enveloped in that aura of surrealism, she felt herself fall slowly… as the crowd’s expression changed from disbelief to panic. Strangely, she felt no panic at all. The only thing she was conscious of before she hit the ground, was gazing into those limpid pools, that showed concern, consternation… and love?

 

People ran helter-skelter like headless chickens, some yelling for help, some running away from the ‘distasteful’ sight. Within seconds, the ‘scene’ bore a deserted look, except for His presence… and hers.... He grimaced and looked at the prostrate body, shook his head, and wiping a spot of blood from his expensive Rolex, walked away…

 

… leaving a hue of red warmth spreading from the cold body that lay there…

21 comments:

pooja said...

really nice , very touching infact ...thank god didnt end with a cliche--and they lived happily thereafter :P

Sauron said...

Thanks Pooja... I don't believe in cliches, actually. :)

@Isha... thanks for the 'offline' comment... :P

Isha said...

good one :)

Sauron said...

@Isha... this time, thanks for the 'online' comment :D

Deepti Thomas said...

Had you lost & gained each time?
or did you gain & lose it?
did it matter then,doesn't anymore now :)

Sauron said...

Dee... fictional story hai re... read the lines, not between the lines ;)

Tangerine said...

really touching story.
what i like best is how beautifully u have framed it!

good job!

Sauron said...

Thanks Tang! It was an experiment to see if I can write serious stuff too, and not be a joker all the time...

Tangerine said...

what a coincidence!! i have been thinking d same thing. i simply cant make up my mind. being serious i hard. and u have done a good job.

Sauron said...

Your comment is much appreciated... good to know people take me seriously :P

Nitram said...

Good Post! I really liked the way you expressed the situation and emotions!

Sauron said...

Thank you Nitram! I'm still learning to write... :)

Piggy Little said...

i loved the story....n yes thanks for joining my list of followers :-)

neha

Sauron said...

Thanks for liking the story, Neha. :)

Scriber's Web said...

I really liked the story. Good stuff. Can't wait to read more stories. But next time, go easy on the commas dude:) Sorry. Proffesional hazard:)

Sauron said...

Scriber, that's a great piece of feedback. I guess ever since I read the book 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves,' I've developed this tendency of overcompensating for punctuation. :P

Scriber's Web said...

I loved the story. Can't wait to read another one. With less commas:)

Sauron said...

Scriber... sure! Ahem... point taken about the commas... will comply in future.

Abk said...

beautiful, crisp and realistic :)

Nikita said...

i only just stumbled upon your blog when a frend sent across the link. i think it's a beautifully written story n i sure do hope to read more from you hereon! :)

Sauron said...

Thank you Nikita. :)