Dated February 2000. Previously unpublished.
The sunlight on that 22nd January 2000 forenoon had washed away the magic of the previous night. Shorn off the glitter and the glamour, the circus arena and the surroundings were bathed in a homely, rustic glow. The tusk-less elephant stood morosely, flapping its ears. The white majestic horses with long manes had their nozzles in the hay bins. The panoramic cupola of the tent was folded up, exposing a criss-cross of thick ropes and poles still pegged on the dusty ground, giving ample space to the children artistes to glide by on their roller skates. The full circle of the make-shift stadium was broken as the workers pulled apart the raised iron benches and were busy stacking them. The stage floor was half gone, exposing the wagon of the caged lions. The raised floor of the musical band was still up, hanging in mid-air, with a disorderly queue of drums and other instruments. Beyond the remains of the stadium, were rows of small tents pitched side by side. Some of the curtain doors were flung open, exposing artistes on bed, curled up in comforters, some yawning, some still asleep, with the crumpled shiny costumes of the last show heaped on the top of the huge zinc trunks.