A passion for compassion

CHEERY CLOWNS

A passion for compassion

In these tumultuous times of turmoil, a few laughs are always welcome. Harish Bhuvan echoes this sentiment and tries to spread as much joy as he can with the age-old act of clowning.

A psychology graduate from Christ University, Harish was a trainer with a theatre group and even worked in IIT-Bombay. But he found his true calling in clowning. “When I was in Mumbai, I didn’t want to let my talent go waste,” he recalls.

So when his friend Nivendra from Sri Lanka asked him to do a clowning act at a hospital, Harish was more than happy. “Nivendra had met an Australian clown on Brigade Road and thought of clowning as a noble initiative. So that’s how we both started,” he says.

Though Nivendra went back home, Harish continued his act and slowly took it up full-time. His group became bigger and bigger and in January this year, he started ‘Compassionate Clowns’.

“We now have 80-90 clowns in the group and anyone can join our team. We have both students and working professionals and people from the age of 7 to 50,” explains Harish.
The group meets mainly on weekends and heads to hospitals and NGOs. “Sometimes, we meet in the parking lot and then put on our make-up,” he says jovially. “Our aim is to spread love and laughter with compassion and that’s why we go to places like hospitals and NGOs which have a dull atmosphere.

We find it necessary to break the stress there,” he explains. Apart from Karunashraya and Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Harish and team also go to the slums. One can find the group in St John’s Hospital during the weekends too. “We don’t really prepare for the performance. However, we have a rough idea of what we are going to do and go with the flow. So if the children are scared of us and crying, we start crying with them,” explains Harish.

One can’t be a mere spectator during their shows. “People have to take part in our activities and since our ‘journey’ with them is two to three hours long, we start making connections with each other. We like to establish trust and I must say that most people, who have tried clowning, have loved it. They don’t have to talk about their problems and can express themselves in this manner,” notes Harish.

The group also tries to raise money for the cause. “Since I am into it full-time, I also conduct independent theatre workshops to support myself,” says Harish.  To join the group or know more about their upcoming programmes, log on to their Facebook page — ‘Compassionate Clowns’.

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