Saturday, May 12, 2012

Face to face with Karan Singh

Karan Singh, a student of Bachelor of Commerce at Delhi University, is a magician at heart. He loves to identify himself not as a magician but as a psychological illusionist. I had a chance to get fantasised by his finest tricks some days back at the Evernote Dev Meetup @ Gurgaon. After the awesome show that he had put up, I could not resist my temptation to have a quick chat with him. Here is a recollection of the memories of that interview.

Me: Hey Karan, this was fantabulous. How long have you been practicing this stuff?
Karan: 10 and half years or so..

Me: How did you get wrong the first time in the show?
Karan: Well, you see thats a trick. If you don't get it right the first time, people start thinking that this is crap and it won't work. Then suddenly you get one right and then the second right.. So the interest is kindled.. Its a strategy!

Me: When I was on stage I was thinking that I am not going to give any hints about the card I have. But you seemed to pick up even without those. How do you do it?
Karan: You see there are many subtle things that we do without really thinking about them. I pick up on those.

Me: So what get started you into magic?
Karan: My parents are professionals, my grand parents brought me up. So I even learnt counting through cards! I was around 3 yrs when I had started recognising picture cards and suites. One day by chance I happened to ask my grand dad to pick a card and I guessed it correct. He was so fascinated by the trick. I was quite amused to have fooled a grown up person like him..

Me: Ah! Thats interesting. Well you don't call yourself magician. Why is that so?
Karan: Yeah, I prefer to call myself psychological illusionist. It gets people wondering what it is.. Magic is so common place.. It no longer rings a bell with folks..

Me: So how did you learn all this stuff?
Karan: As I told you I did that trick with my grand dad quite young. It excited me. When I was about 10 I went to a summer camp where I learnt some common magic tricks children do.. Later I went to David Blaine's magic school @ Boston when I was 12 or something.. David was my inspiration then. But after going there I saw everyone is learning the same tricks. There is nothing special or unique I would be doing this way. Although people may find it interesting but for magicians I would be just another magician nothing more.. So I thought not continue there..

Me: Well so what got you started as this illusionist? What is all this about? And how is it different from magic?
Karan: After coming back I got to learn about this new stuff which is not quite different from magic. But its not the same either. Its not cutting a girl into two or bringing out doves from a hat or something like that. Its basically planting ideas into the audience and creating some illusion out of it. Like for instance if I ask you think of a building ( and he raises his hands as if to picture Eiffel tower ), so the first thing that comes to your mind is -- Eiffel Tower (laughs)..

Me: Well yes! But you actually instructed your hands in that way.. So I thought about it..
Karan: This is the art, you know. Our minds are so fragile and easy to be fooled of!

Me: What other shows have you done and which places around the world?
Karan: My first show was when I was 16 at a friends birthday party, for free. Next one was for charity.. After that I have done shows with Philips, Head & Shoulders etc... I have done shows around the globe..

Me: Tell me about the time when you would have felt down or people around you would have asked you not to practice magic. How did you keep yourself going?
Karan: Whenever I feel anxious or want to relax I play music. I play around seventeen instruments from keyboard, tabla, guitar to harmonica, saxophone, harmonium.. I also read books. Over two hundered of those a year.. You know I am quite a crazy kid.. And because I sleep for three to four hrs, I have sufficient time for myself..

Me: Hey it was great to talk to you.. It would be great to see you performing some other time..
Karan: Please like my fb page you'll get the details of my next show which is in Delhi on 23rd June. First sponsored stage show. Bring your family, friends, girl friends, boy friends!!

Well, that was not it.. There were a lot of things he asked us like which trick did we like the most.. A small argument on meditation... And above all his show with the constant talk about the trick, where did he get the idea of the trick etc etc.. Looking forward to attending his show on 23rd..

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