Is there logic behind magic? The age old debate hasn’t stopped magician Kruti Parekh, India’s first test-tube baby, to turn her passion into profession. Gauri Rane unravels the miracle of science.
She looks straight into your eyes. “Be calm,” she says soothingly. “Now think of anything- a name of a person, an emotion, flower, fruit, animal…almost any word. And I shall tell you what’s in your mind.” Deftly she tears a piece of paper from her notebook and asks you to transfer your thought on to that. She takes the paper back and without even glancing at it, tears it into small bits and chews it up. “Now look at me,” she says with authority, swirling her black brown eyes for effect. A pause! An intense silence! And then a triumphant clap as she dramatically pronounces the verdict, “And the word is love.”
And while you are wondering how she guessed it, Kruti Parekh, professional magician, moves on to tell you why she dared to take the road less travelled. “No one’s going to rush to take your autograph, or scurry with a camera to get clicked with you if you score a 100//100 in Math,” the 28-year-old explains. “But magic got me recognition, success and fans and adulation.”
A miracle of science, Parekh, India’s first test tube baby, made a tryst with destiny when she was just five. “I saw a street magician perform various tricks,” she reminisces. “Curiosity pressed me to ask the magician to teach me a basic trick.” Years later, during a visit to an amusement park, a magic show caught her attention. As the show ended, she mustered up the courage to walk up to the magician and said she too wanted to perform tricks like him.
Parekh recollects how after her performance spectators had surrounded her. “I could hear parents telling their kids to be like me and learn from me,” she says. It was then that realization dawned on her that here was a profession which could get her not only moolah but also mass adulation.
Now there was no looking back. To hone her skills, Parekh made sure she read every book on the subject-Indian and foreign; from popular ‘how to’ books like ‘Learning Magic in 21 Days’ to heavier ones like ‘Physics and Magic’. Impressed by her perform abroad, world’s leading illusionist William Zimbago offered to train the young girl. “He taught me the science behind magic,” she says.
Soon Parekh got a big break in a television show titled ‘Junglee Toofan Tyer Puncture’ which catapulted her career to a new height. She was “noticed”. Today with over 2000 tricks under her hat and 5000 shows later, she stands tall when it comes to counting her achievements. “I have had the privilege of performing in almost all parts of the world for audiences ranging from Mother Teresa to the royal family of China.” She has also worked for movies like ‘Guzaarish’. Does she call herself a learned magician now? Pat comes the reply, “learning is a lifelong process, especially in magic. One faltered step and all you hard earned reputation goes down the drain.”
The profession has its challenges too. “Each act required meticulous planning and practice to reach perfection. Sometimes you succeed. You should also be prepared for failure.” She recollects a particularly difficult act that she performed at the NCPA in Mumbai. “I was going to experiment with UV lights in open air and natural light for the first time. Making UV lights work in natural light was not the only challenge, we had to design the entire set up right from building a stage to covering the roof so that my other acts were not affected. All the drawings of my engineering days helped me here” says Parekh who also holds a degree in IT engineering.
Parekh has learnt to package the art of magic in to what she calls – magic effect direction. She explains, “Like a choreographer, I create and infuse magical effects into various events.” Take for instance a marriage where she makes the bride and her groom perform various magical tricks to liven up the ceremony. At the flick of a finger a bouquet of flowers appears from thin air, and the groom then presents it to his bride. Sometimes during the ‘sangeet’ the bride appears out of a veil of fog.
Are there monetary benefits in this profession or is it just a passion? “Of course,” says Parekh as she smoothly folds Rs 50 note and unfolds it into Rs 500 note. “A magician is an entrepreneur. How much you make depends on how much you work. In the US they make huge bucks.”
A performance at kids’ birthday parties etc., she says, fetches even a novice magician, anywhere between Rs 10,000 to 30,000. And if you are able to innovate like her then sky is the limit. While one is busy figuring out how did the Rs 50 changed to Rs 500, she signs off, “Remember, magic yesterday is science today and magic today, is science tomorrow!”