That unforgettable stormy night……………….

It is not unusual for the weather to take an erratic hostile turn during the month of May due to Western disturbances but the panic this time has been unprecedented. Of course, the havoc wrecked by storms in many parts of the country has been tremendous but, the social media played no less a role in whipping up storm hysteria. While in some states dust and thunder storms accompanied by gusty winds left a trail of destruction, in many areas people waited with bated breath for the brewing storm that, thankfully, fizzled out.
As people in Chandigarh and adjoining states were caught in storm frenzy, I could not help recalling a scary night when we were struck up in a thunder storm- dark clouds, heavy downpour, wild winds and thunderous lightening. To add to the scare were the roars of lions and angry trumpets of elephants. No, we were not stranded in a jungle but very much in the city, in the midst of a circus show when the storm hit.

The episode dates back to the late 70s when TV had not entered most Indian homes and hence, circus had not lost its appeal to television programs. Unlike today, when circus is a dying industry, it was a huge crowd puller in my growing up days. It was sometime in the month of May when, we, the children, accompanied by our parents, went for an evening circus show. I vividly remember the show as it began with an impressive parade of all the circus artists in their glittering attire along with the trained animals. The stunt artists performed daring feats and the gymnasts twisted and turned their rubber-like bodies. Tight rope walkers, jugglers and acrobats kept us spell bound with their stunning performances and clowns amused us with their funny antics. The most enjoyable, of course, were the tricks performed by the animals – elephants, lions, bears, horses, and dogs- under the watchful eyes of their trainers. Oblivious of the storm building up and ignoring the occasional lightening; we were engrossed in the show.

Just before the grand finale, the trapeze act, suddenly it started raining. There was heavy downpour accompanied by high velocity winds and thunderous lightening. The show was halted. The musicians sitting on the elevation stopped performing. Announcements began to be made from the loud speaker, “Jaldi se jaldi tent se nikal jaye, tent kabhi bhi gir sakta hai. Haathi bekabu ho sakte hain. (The spectators should immediately get out of the pavilion as it could fall anytime and the elephants could go berserk.). Repeated announcements led to a panic reaction. Everyone started descending from the stands and rushing towards the exit gate. There was a stampede.
In the mayhem that followed, some of us lost our footwear but thank God, didn’t lose a limb or life. Mercifully, the tent did not fall down; no animal went out of control. Though we were shaken badly and drenched fully, thankfully we survived the storm and the stampede to remember the stormy night all through our life. Can’t help humming “Zindagi bhar nahin bhulegi ye toofani raat……”


Published in Chandigarh Tribune 28 June 2018

12 Replies to “That unforgettable stormy night……………….”

  1. Well written Rama . Such unforgettable episodes in your life leave indelible memories . Cannot forget the days when we would eagerly look forward to watch the circus in sector 17. We would look out for those strobes in the sky announincing the arrival of the circus . Really nostalgic .

  2. This is very well written, ma’am! I have never been to a circus, but I could actually visualize it in my mind as I read from one sentence to another. Moreover, today being a rainy day, it’s all the more connecting.

    1. In fact, circus has lost its charm because of television and ban on the use of animals in circus. No wonder Saundharaya , you have not seen live circus, though you might have watched on T V.

  3. Wonderful memories Rama. You took me down the memory lane. Circus was an integral part of our childhood. Now it’s a dying business but thankfully the artists have been rescued by the various talent shows on TV.
    And yes all of us have memories of rainy days. Pakora parties, romantic drives, scary drives when water used to enter our Marutis, thunderous rainy night drives, walking upto college in white Sarees in torrential rain, slipping on the muddy driveway .in front of the College reception.
    Life would be dull without these stories.

  4. After a long time reading about circus a forgotten entertainment of our childhood , Its discription is so natural and vivid that u feel as if you are sharing the same show at the age of ten .

  5. Well written rama…yr article reminded our so many childhood memories of circus and storms of those days

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