Here is last Friday’s Mumbai for Kids article in Times of India ( 17 Sep 2010) –
Can you feel the magic?
Pull a rabbit out of a top hat or make someone disappear. City workshops teach you how – by Rachel Rickard Straus
I want to learn to fly,’’ says 13-year-old Akash. “I can’t do it yet but I will when I’m older,’’ he announces with great confidence. This may sound like a tall ambition, but Akash has been learning magic for the last two years from a teacher who once replaced the Taj Mahal with the Pyramids. No wonder he thinks anything is possible.
Scattered around Mumbai are magic workshops where kids like Akash are being transformed into little magicians. Many teach children as young as five, starting them off with the basics of making things appear and disappear, transform and displace.
At Pyjama Parties in Bandra West and Worli, for example, children can learn simple card tricks and how to hide coins as well as watching a professional magician pull a real rabbit out of a hat. “The kids love guessing how the magician does it,’’ says coordinator Chandni Mehta.
“They’re always so delighted when the magician pulls a 500-rupee note from behind their ear or makes a real pigeon appear from nowhere. They also enjoy trying out a few simple tricks t h e m – selves.’’
Subhash Parekh, father of the 25-year-old K r u t i P a r e k h who runs Kruti’s Magic Academy, emphasises that it isn’t possible for beginners to start producing
fluffy creatures out of nowhere straight away. “It’s important that they learn the basics first,’’ he says. “But although it’s necessary to start small, these skills are the starting point for much grander trickery. “Making a coin vanish is the same as making a girl or even the Qutub Minar disappear. If you understand the principle, the size makes no difference.’’
Kruti, who is in the Limca Book of Records as India’s youngest female magician and has performed to audiences around the globe, adds that magic has other adva n t a g e s. “It’s not e n o u g h just to learn the tricks,’’ she says. “We also teach children how to perform successfully to create a feeling of awe in the audience. The way I teach helps kids grow. I had a student who, when she started learning from me, was shy to the extent of being unable to talk to new people. After three courses she was able to get on stage and perform. Her parents ask me, ‘What is the magic? How did you help her to build up her confidence?’
Another of Kruti’s students, Sayashwin, agrees that learning magic is a great confidence-booster. “I used to get nervous when I went on stage,’’ says the12-year-old. “Now I find it very interesting performing in front of hundreds of people.’’
There are also other skills to be learnt, Kruti’s students explain. “What I like is the speed of doing tricks, like when you’re shifting a ball and glass quickly,’’ says Akash. “It’s good for the reflexes and it’s challenging.’’
Parents, meanwhile, can enjoy learn ing a new trick or two from their kids if they agree to reveal their secrets. But while it can be great to have kids learning somethi
ng totally new, be warned: you may have to be prepared for a little light trickery at home. Twelve-year-old Khushali says mischievously that she likes to make milk disappear.
And Sayashwin reveals: “My favourite trick is the Coca Cola one. I take a bottle of Coca Cola but my mother tells me not to drink it. So I put a hanky over it and turn it into a bunch of flowers!’’
Kruti’s Magic Academy, Walkeshwar, www.magiciankruti.com
Pyjama Parties, Bandra West and Worli, 022-64400981
Patil’s Magic Workshops, Mahim, 022-24443251
For Previous articles see this – Mumbai for Kids – Times of India