I just returned from a trip to Trivandrum to attend IndiaJaal – the magicians’ conference on national integration, organised by the Academy of Magical Sciences. It was inspiring to watch a lot of magic themed around the concept of patriotism and nation building, and along with jury duties for the competitions, I also presented a talk on “Creating Magic with a Message”.  This talk derived largely from my research work and field work in communicating messages of social relevance via magic, was accepted well by the 200+ magicians gathered from all around the country.

The key takeaway of the conference though was the ability to meet and spend time in the company of the itinerant street magicians of India. Their magic is far beyond any that adorn the biggest of stages, and yet they have to struggle to make a living given the current circumstances where roads and streets are way too clogged to allow a street performer.

This opportunity set off a new project for me to try and document and present the Indian Magic from the perspective of these wonderful performers – who have since generations dedicated their lives to preserving what is clearly a part of the ancient culture of a magical land called India.

The first stage of my new dream project was to get my friend and accomplished artist Umesh Shebe sketch these itinerant street magicians in their regular set-up – mystifying hundreds of people with their craft. Thanks to the Magic Academy and another friend Magician Raj Kumar of Delhi, the first kid-step of the project is now complete, and we look to moving with godspeed unto the next levels with a single aim to complete this project – that in a small way may contribute to correct a historical wrong done to these traditional Indian magicians by the magic community.

More on this as I can update you. Meanwhile, here (May 2008) and here (December 2005)  are two articles I had penned in the context of my earlier interactions with these wonder-wizards of India.