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Rarely There

A collection of discourses - myriad, profound, uplifting...
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Friday, July 21, 2006

Just a bunch of clowns, you say

Clowns scare me. They really do. I am not sure why. I have been psycho-analyzing myself, prodding my unreliable memory from 30 yrs ago.

They say infants below 3 cannot remember much. Say that to my brother who remembers where he crawled for the first time and who were present and cheering him at that time! He was only 8 months old when he crawled for the first time. My mom swears this. And, she swears his memory is correct! No, i see what you are thinking: i suspected old family photographs as well, but, there were none that show this exact moment as he so vividly describes to this day. My parents swear they didn't "implant" this memory somehow.

But, not me. I cannot remember what I did 2 weeks ago, let alone 2 decades ago... except in disjointed patches. But, clowns to this day make me want to hide under my mommy's sari.

No, I had not watched Killer Klowns From Outer Space until a few weeks ago. (Why did you watch it? you ask. Well, because my husband loves such creepy movies, and I had sat through Shakes The Clown till the end - despite watching only portions of it and that too via the "peep-hole" created by the cracks between my fingers that were firmly over my eyes, and because the armchair psychoanalyst in me said it would help me overcome my fear.)

And, no, we didn't have clowns at my birthday parties during my formative years where the act went awry thus leading to my current condition.

Was I abducted by circus clowns who had come to town when i was about three? "Of course! And we didn't really try to get you back. They just didn't want you and they gave you back to mommy." Isn't it nice to have an older brother to give you all the facts your parents want to protect you from?!

All right. So, I do remember this: There were elephants on tricycles at the circus that my parents took me to for the first time, when i was a cute 3-something. There were tigers and lions acting like domestic kitties doing tricks for treats. There was a giant hippo who yawned just about a foot in front of my tiny face right when my brother told me hippos love eating little girls. (My parents thought we kids would love the front row ring-side seats). And yes, indeed. There was a bunch of clowns, well... umm... 'clowning' about... in the ring. I remember that much.

So, where did this irrational fear of clowns come from? i hear the rational me saying: it is not that irrational, really... well, you draw your own conclusions:

I spy Ronald McDonald about 10 feet ahead of me and i immediately cross the street, ignoring the zipping traffic and the pedestrian crossing about two feet away from The Clown.

I spot a clown at a friend's kid's birthday party, and immediately find excuses to have to rush home.

I saw the big rubber nose my room-mate had for her halloween costume and I throw a tantrum till she takes it out of the 'premises'.

I see a picture of a clown in my baby's book and i quickly turn the page and try to find another book to read to her.

Need I say more?

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