I don’t know why I am nervous today. I have climbed up these ropes, twenty-five feet high innumerable times. Maybe because today is going to be my last act. After this I am going to retire. My mind is telling me to continue but my body is not able to cope with the strain. I am going to give my best today, the most memorable one.
I climb the last few metres with ease, with renewed energy. My first act looks effortless but only I know the grind that goes into it. I move around the bar and ropes and perform a wide range of movements including balances, drops, hanging upside down with grace and style. The audience loves it. I can hear their applause so high up. It gives me a tremendous boost.
The second performance is my favourite one, the one which my father taught me when I was just five years old. I miss him. He made me practice hanging upside down by my legs for hours. I take my position holding the bar firmly and building up a swing with forward-backward action. This movement requires precise timing, strength and flexibility. I am hanging by my ankles on the bar bracing them between the rope and the bar. I can feel the adrenaline gush as I swing from one bar to another performing my rare antics, feeling footloose and free.
Next comes the most daring of the acts. I have my team performing with me. I trust them and they trust me. This act is all about precise coordination between us. We all are literally flying in the air from one end to another. I grab the bar and jump off the high platform so that gravity creates the swing. I gather momentum swinging to and fro and release the bar. At that precise juncture I am caught by the other performer who is swinging and hanging by his knees on another bar. All heads are up, looking in amazement at the tricks we perform so high up.
I am feeling on top of the world. One by one we drop down to the net below waving our hands in appreciation and blowing kisses at the crowd who has stood up to give us a standing ovation. I have tears in my eyes. I am feeling overwhelmed and emotional. This has been my home for the past fifty years. This is the only family I have known.
An announcement is made by the Manager of the troupe. “ Dear audience, please put your hands together to applaud our oldest trapeze artist Mr.John Kurien, the most sincere and dedicated artist. Today was his final act. We are going to miss him terribly but as the motto of The Gemini Circus says Life Goes On.”
As I bid farewell to my passion, my profession I recollect the most important lesson I learnt in my journey of life ‘ When to hang on, When to Let Go.’
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