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Stars in the ring

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Subash and Sheela — the Great Bombay Circus' longest serving couple

It's almost time for her famous ‘Russian Basketball Tower' stunt, and Sheela quickly tweaks her eyebrows. While rushing out of her tin tenement at the Great Bombay Circus' temporary facility (near Central Station), she hands Subash Jaysingh a bottle of soft drink.

Subash — addressed as ‘Cycle Superstar' by colleagues and fans — is dressed for his performance, just 10 minutes away. Everyone agrees these two are Bombay Circus' most valuable pair. And quite deservedly, they have a portion all to themselves.

When Subash and Sheela joined Bombay Circus 18 years ago, they were newly-weds. It was the circus ring that had brought them together. And today, they are the longest serving couple at the Great Bombay Circus.

Sheela's Basketball Tower stunt is a talking point of every show, but she makes no mention of it. Instead, she talks about how her cycling skills improved by leaps and bounds after she married Subash and he began to train her. For his part, Subash explains that the Russians used a shorter stand for the basketball tower stunt but Sheela stacked more odds against herself by going in for a longer stand.

They will next pitch tent in two Kerala cities for two months. “Every time we leave Chennai, there is a sense of leaving home,” says Subash. “We have made our home in Kolkata, but I am from Chennai and my relatives still live at Samiyarmadam in Kodambakkam. Whenever our circus comes to Chennai, my relatives visit us every weekend.”

The Chennai connection

Sheela, who hails from Kolkata, can carry a conversation in Tamil and she has always looked forward to coming to Chennai. “The audience here is very appreciative. I enjoy performing in Coimbatore for the same reason,” she explains. Subash nods.

There is another city their hearts long to go to: Kolkata. “Our daughter Sonia lives in Kolkata with our relatives. For the sake of her studies, we have had to sacrifice the joy of living together,” explains Subash. “Circus is our lifeline. Nothing gives us a high as performing before a receptive audience. But circus is not for our daughter. We want her to study hard and make it big.”

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 12:15:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/stars-in-the-ring/article2984828.ece

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