The circus was the most popular event in the land. The star attraction, were not the tigers, lions or even the acrobats. It was the glamorous knife thrower called Czarina, balancing her target’s life in her hands, even as the knives sang through the air, rushing inexorably towards the fragile limbs, and sparing the precious lives at the last moment.
While the audience was enthralled by her, so were they glued to their seats when the popular clown of the troupe emerged out of thin air. He was the side act, the friendly buffoon who kept the crowds entertained while the main actors prepped for their parts.
But when the Czarina was on stage, even the clown was drawn to her beautiful skill. So one fine day, against his better judgement he gathered his scattered courage and called out to her offering his companionship, heart and the smile that made everyone else laugh. Alas the Czarina, looked at him with sadness and pity.
“I have enough suitors and followers who flatter me, and need no more. I do not have time for you or your companionship. You would be better served by looking somewhere else for someone who can reciprocate your emotions” she said and turned her back. The clown winced internally at those words, which were as sharp as her knives. Nay, sharper as the knives never really hurt anyone, but the words cut deep.
But he too was the clown. Like the Czarina he too was a master of his own subtle art. A master of disguise and an expert at masking his emotions. He bowed to the Czarina, wishing her the best in life and beat a gallant retreat.
In the end, the Czarina continued to enthrall the audiences with her knives even as she spared lives of her targets but numbed down her own, and the clown returned to make his audience laugh in raptures, even as he silently hummed the evergreen classic to himself
“chalo ek baar fir se ajnabee ban jaye hum dono”.
The audience laughed and enjoyed the show.