| Magician Shambhunath Mishra teaches children how to vanish cards a Pictures by Ashok Sinha
Quidditch and flying around on broomsticks may only be the stuff of fantasy and Harry Potter films but for 11-year-old Sahil Suman, making cards disappear into thin air and turning ropes into sticks is not a far cry.
Magician Shambhunath Mishra has introduced Sahil and 44 other school students to tricks of the magical trade at a summer camp organised by Kilkari Bihar Bal Bhavan. Since Saturday, when the magic workshop at the camp was inaugurated, the children have already learnt rope tricks, card tricks and magic ball stunts. Some of the participants are as young as seven.
“If Harry Potter can do it, why can’t I?” said Sahil.
The boy, who wants to be a magician like O.P. Sharma, added: “I have learnt quite a few tricks at this workshop. Now I can be a magician as well.”
Describing what he has taught the children, Mishra said: “I am only teaching them some simple tricks in this workshop. If a child masters the basics, he or she can do the more difficult tricks later. Whether cutting a person into half or making an elephant or tiger vanish, every trick has some risk. The risk factor increases as the tricks become bigger.”
He added: “I have taught the children how to make a ball disappear from a box and how to bring it back. They have learnt to change a rope into a stick and back. Besides, they have mastered a number of card tricks.”
Anita Thakur, the programme officer of Kilkari Bihar Bal Bhavan, said they had organised a magic workshop for the first time. “Before this, Kilkari has hosted many magic shows where children got to see different magicians perform. But such a workshop has been organised for the first time in Kilkari,” she said.
The children who are taking part in the workshop are not complaining. They feel that their friends and family would be amazed when they perform the tricks at school and home.
Karun Kumar, a Class V student of Ram Mohun Roy Seminary School who is taking part in the workshop, said: “I want to be popular among my friends and magic is the best way to do so.”
For some of Karun’s friends at the workshop, the experience has been a revelation of sorts.
“I had no idea about magic or magicians before this workshop. I used to think that magicians have some divine power. But now, thanks to this workshop and Shambhunath Mishra Sir, I have learnt that there is some trick behind every magical show. It is all about science and technology,” said Rahul Kumar, a Class V student of Rajkiya Madhya Vidyalaya, Saidpur.
Their teacher, Mishra, who has performed in Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai, claimed that the greatest magic that the children will learn is to be an eloquent speaker.
He said: “It’s very important for a magician to be an eloquent speaker. If a magic show does not involve interesting conversation, people won’t be interested. So, in this workshop I am not only teaching students how to perform various tricks but also how to present them in an attractive manner.
“For instance, before performing a trick, I say ingli-ki-pingli, abracadabra, gilli gilli chu! This attracts the audience as they believe it is magic and I am chanting some mantra.”