BENGALURU: Not many people aim to grow up and become a clown, but then, Monica Santos is not like most of us. At the literature festival, Santos’ performance had perhaps the largest number of young audience. Santos, who hails from Asturias, Spain, has been calling India her home for three years.
The professional clown artist works for a Barcelona-based clown association called Petons, which means ‘kissing noses’ in Catalan, that performs clown acts for elderly patients. She works in India for the NGO, Big smiles. “I like doing shows at fests, but my heart likes the work I do at the orphanage or for cancer patients, victims of domestic violence, etc. The joy I get by bringing smiles on their faces is unimaginable,” Santos says, with tears welling up in her eyes.
She might make the performance seem easy, but it’s a challenging job, she says. “I have to improvise all the time because when you are working with children or people who are ailing, you cannot anticipate their reactions,” says the 43-year-old.
A graduate in economics, Santos started with a career in banking. But something in her always wanted her to do theatre. “I have heard many professional clowns say they were the clown of the class since childhood, but in my case, it’s opposite. I was a shy girl, but eccentric in nature. I remember doing silly stuff at home. When I was 21, I came across a clowning workshop. I took it up, and my life changed,” says Santos, who has been doing clowning for 26 years.
She says the best part about being a clown is the acting, which is one-fourth of the whole process. The rest of the work is preparing presentations and commercials, attending meetings, etc, which is “not much fun” but is important for financial reasons.
Santos considers herself Indian in many ways. She loves Bollywood songs and can tell you the latest gossip. “Maybe I was born in India in my previous birth. When I came to this country for the first time in 2003, I fell in love with it, and could not stop coming back. In 2016, I left my job and came here permanently.”