I love anything that evokes a sense of childlike wonder in me. Magic does that to me.

I have loved magic shows ever since I was little. My father would take us to P. C. Sorcar’s magic “INDRAJAL” shows, which generally showed up in Nagpur every couple of years.[1]

Unfortunately, I did not get to watch any live magic shows since my childhood. Fortunately, these days I can watch the best of them on the internet. Granted that it’s not the same as a live performance but in some senses it is better — you get a much more intimate view of the show.

I like stage magic a lot even if it is just on the internet. Penn & Teller’s magic series Fool Us was immensely entertaining. Some of the acts in the FU episodes were pretty incredible and absolutely mind-boggling. I recommend them. Professional production and fancy sets make them impressive. But for real magic, I prefer the small set with minimal glitter. One of the best was Ricky Jay. His showmanship was top notch and he could delight the audience with his talk. He would produce magic using nothing more than a pack of ordinary playing cards.

Arthur C. Clarke famously observed that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Watching Ricky Jay you realize that any sufficiently advanced sleight of hand trick is indistinguishable from magic. See this to know what I mean.


The image at the top of this post is the cover of a Moody Blues album — Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. Here’s a song from that.

One more tree will fall how strong the growing vine
Turn the earth to sand and still permit no crime
How one thought will live provide the others die
For I have riches more than these
For I have riches more than these


[1] Here’s a June 2018 BBC piece titled PC Sorcar: India’s ‘maharajah of magic’ who terrified the UK


At 9.15pm on 9 April 1956, the BBC’s switchboard suddenly lit up with calls from hundreds of viewers convinced they had just witnessed a gruesome murder live on their television screens. A mysterious-looking oriental magician had put a 17-year-old girl in a trance, laid her on a table and sliced her body in half with a massive buzz saw as if she were a slab of meat on a butcher’s table.

It was meant to be the climactic finale to that evening’s top-rated Panorama programme, but something appeared to have gone terribly wrong. When the magician rubbed his assistant’s hands and tried to revive her, she did not respond. As he shook his head and covered her face with a black cloth, presenter Richard Dimbleby stepped in front of the camera and announced the programme was over.

Author: Atanu Dey


One thought on “Magic”

  1. There’re 2 types of aspirants to ‘magic’…
    ** A young child–He/she is a relative novice to the physical world, anything thing new could be ‘magical’, like watching a seagull gliding or better still get on board an airplane with his/her parents for a flight.
    ** An adult–Usually they long for magic because something they’ve been waiting haven’t materialised and they hope by some kind of ‘magic’, their vision could pop out into existance. It’s a kind of mental stimulant, fine; but indulging too much in such ‘magical thinking’ would be just a form of mental opioid.
    Many of such magic stories are in the form of fairy tales to do with some princes or princesses; Why? Typically,1)a young woman wants financial security; marrying a young prince would be ideal 2)The best way for a young man to demonstrate his masculinity would be to rescue a damsel in distress or better still,a princess spell casted by an evil socerer.
    Tchaikovsky’s (fairy tale)ballets demonstrate the above quite well:

    Clara’s nutcracker toy materialised into a real person:

    Prince Siegfried defeated the evil socerer Von Rothbart to rescue the white swan queen Odette:


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