April · magic

Magic – Behind the Scenes

The only thing i hate more than traffic on the street is the attendance register in college. When i was in B school during the final semester i had a class short of attendance to graduate. I was asked to repeat the year as a result of it.  I had about 6 months left and needed to take a break. Decided to go to Nepal on a bike ride. I was broke and a bicycle ride to Nepal seemed to be the cheapest alternative than sitting at home. The ride was lovely, met wonderful people, did a trek and also mountain biked the Annapoorna Circuit before heading back into India.

The day i got back home, i went to meet a bunch of friends and the one question that was constantly asked is what next. I decided the next course of action for me was to restart work. Get the business back on track and go out and find new customers. Started to scour the internet for new leads and stumbled on the Great Indian festival of Magic. A quick look at the website showed that the festival started in a couple of days. Usually for a large event like this all or at least most vendors would have been short listed and closed at least three weeks before the event. The one thing i have going for me is being an optimist so i tried. I called and surprisingly they had a bunch of things that were not closed. They needed a photographer and bunch of printed material and as luck would have it they had an office right next to home. Fortune does favor the brave. Met with them, understood the requirement and gave the a cost, surprisingly there wasn’t any negotiation. The gig was simple, shoot everything that happens behind the scenes, i was given full access to the 2 day festival. This meant i could go check out the props that they used, learn a couple of tricks etc. This could be useful to start conversations with women.

On the D day, i cycled to the venue. The setup was really basic but extremely colourful. One thing i remember was this huge moving profile spot that was in the middle of the room pointing to the stage. They had got someone to sit on a chair to help move it when a person walked on stage. The first couple of sessions were about theory and what and how some tricks were formulated. The session after lunch was about close magic or tricks that you can do at the bar. The headliner was the evening was a couple act from France i think. They had ladders, buckets, water etc. That was fun. At the end of the act the showed everyone how the rabbit out of the hat worked, where pigeons were hidden and how to light a match without a match box.

7278098306_632446111a_kThe 2nd day kicked of with a show that had a bunch of magicians young and old particiapte in. There were kids that pulled a multicolor hanky out of thin air, a bengali chap who did some mysterious disappearing trick and an older gentlemen who did a trick with a skull. During the evening tea break there was a show out in the open by a group of Delhi old timers. These were street magicians who performed in old Delhi and now were showcasing skill. The lead up to the trick had a lot of bajans that the old man sung, i think people pay extra just to listen to Bajans. Anyways he split his kid in half or thats how it looked like under the sheet. Someone wanted to know how it was done and tried to peek under the blanket only to get a stern smack on his ass by the old man. After the tea break, another French magician performed. This was old school magic that had apples, newspapers etc. It was a theme set in Venice or somewhere and about a young boy who walked around the street. 7278036902_ec24e668be_kIt was brilliant. He had more apples on him than i have eaten all my life. His jacket had some really clever pockets to hide the apples and his hat had a secret compartment. Today i understand why they have those cute helpers coming on stage, they serve as a distraction. Anyways someone from outside the magic community had wandered in only to be chased outside. I mean the poor lady came to watch the evening show but got kicked out for being early. At night when the actual performance happened a bunch of magicians put on a show along with the French guy. Everyone went home happy that day. The kids and their fathers were awe struck while the mothers smacked the kids for putting their hand in the mouth without washing it.

7278060126_644da58859_zAt the end of shooting the event, i went back home to edit the images so that i could give it to them quickly. I loved every image how it came out. Met the guy running the show and showed him the images and he seemed visibly happy. Transaction complete, and i wrote a  paper about it at school for an exam. The experience was phenomenal and i enjoyed every bit of it. 7278043120_1db1120bd6_zI mean who doesn’t want to know where the apples came from or how in God’s name did pigeons appear to no fly away during a show. I did buy a bunch of stuff at the store that was setup outside the event. I don’t know what happened to it and i also haven’t try performing those tricks. I have learnt today that sometimes its just timing. A cold call lead to a really cool experience which i wrote a paper about and got an A.

Cheers.

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