It was after much hopping and jumping amid a maze of tents and ropes that I reached the “house” of Shaguna (left in the pic). This was a little away from where elephants were tethered, and well within an area where performers were bathing vigorously in the open.
This 21-year-old Nepali was a showgirl with the Great Bombay Circus on in city. Outside her tent, the stench – that seems a mix of body odour, slush and excreta – made it impossible to stand. It was better inside, but to imagine one would live here for a whole next month – well, it was shocking. I took a cursory glance around. A low-level cot with bedding on the left…a make-shift kitchen (gas stove, filled plastic containers, spices and some plates) on the right…clothes piled up (neatly) in a corner…bedding on the flour…a few surprise showpieces on a table…and lo! even a small television.
“It took me exactly 15 minutes to set up the tent and make it home,” she informed, guessing in my eyes whether I liked the sight.
“Great job,” I replied politely.
Her lips stretched in a smile. “We do it every month. Have been doing it for years,” she explained, revealing how people in the world of circus accept such moving tents for houses as just fine.