The Art Of Magic with ‘MAYAVI SURAJ’
It is true that magic creates wonder. However, in Nepal, it is not well established and we don’t see a lot of magicians but we had a talk with one who has been prominent in this industry in recent times. As they say, better late than never, magic as an art form is gaining popularity in Nepal as well. We had a chat with Mr. Suraj Mainali who goes by the moniker of Mayavi Suraj. In, this interview he talked about his personal journey, his future plans and of course magic. We were also lucky enough to witness some of his magic tricks and yes we were amazed.
WHEN DID YOU START GETTING INTERESTED IN MAGIC? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BE A MAGICIAN?
I was interested since childhood, rather I was amazed to be more precise like every child. But, I had never thought of being a magician. I used to read a lot of books that included ways to do tricks, not to be a magician, but my curiosity was always there to drive me. I lost interest for years in between but finally found my way again and started to identify as a professional magician since 2009.
WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES THAT YOU HAD TO FACE IN YOUR LIFE’S JOURNEY? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?
I got involved with drugs from a very young age, I was 13 or 14 at the time. The friend group I was in were also into it which made it harder to just leave. I was never interested in school and it showed in the results. I didn’t like the class, the teachers or the other students. I had hope that once I finish my school, I would leave everything behind, but it wasn’t that easy for me and it never happened. Indeed, I was more into addiction during my high school days. I was failing all my tests, I was not attending any classes. Luckily, in the 7th attempt, I passed my 12 boards. This duration was large and finally, it was 2009 when I had a sense of realization. I had an accident during the Christmas Eve of 2009 and sustained a head injury. During this time, I was into a lot of medications and had to receive some psychiatric treatment and counselling. I tried sustaining without drugs for a week, and then it became 2 weeks and eventually a year. A guy who was into a serious addiction made it through a whole year without using and this was an achievement for me. During this interval, I met my neighbor who was a magician. With regular meetings I got close to him and got interested in his magic tricks. Like I said, I had never thought in serious terms about becoming a magician but a certain desire and interest got within me something inside me told me that I should learn this. I learned some of the tricks with him and this was a starting phase of my journey. Since, I knew someone personally as a magician; I was keen to get into this field.
When I first started, I used to visit cyber cafes to watch videos on magic. . Back then 10 years from now, internet access was not easy. I had no cell phone. Also, regularly visiting cyber cafes was a tough job to do at that time, so I used to visit once a week. After watching the videos, I used to visit to my teacher, one who used to guide me on those days. I really appreciate him for supporting me, even in times, when my family was not supportive.
WHAT DO YOU DO AS A PROFESSIONAL MAGICIAN?
As a professional, I do shows, especially in the corporate platform. In my struggling days, I used to perform magic in birthday parties. In Nepal, have little idea about what magicians really do. With time, I started getting booked for different types of events like birthday parties, Schools and corporate events. At one point, I went to see some well-known magicians at that time; I visited their shows and found out that all the magicians did have the same pattern of performing the magic tricks. When it comes to magic, especially in Nepal, we are far behind. And at that time, I did realize that this trend needs to be improved and changed.
Now, I have also started joining Charity shows because I do believe that it’s not all about earning money. Also, I have started giving motivational classes relating with the theme of Magic. I do paid shows, but this does not seem to be enough for me. I visit Hospitals, especially the kid’s hospital and the cancer ward. I had lost my father from cancer a few years back and I know what the kids go through. I visit them personally and show my magic tricks. This is not for my monetary gains at all as I believe that I am donating my skills to them, in return for their smiles, as cheesy it may sound but it has a different satisfaction to it. For such pious acts, I am associated with numerous organizations and with them, I do organize many charity shows. To be more specific, I do charity shows once a month or so.
YOU ARE A WORLD RECORD HOLDER, TELL US HOW YOU RECEIVED THIS TITLE?
It was group participation, not a particular record. “Most number of magicians in one magic show” was an event conducted in the SAARC Magic Conference during 2016, April 24. And from Nepal, I was the only magician and I kind of got a holistic picture of the status of Magic art in Nepal. The world record event was held in Italy and the old record was of 150 or152 members and I collaborated with an Indian group composing the total members of 164 with the group name as Indian Brotherhood of Magician and we broke the record as Group Participants. I did even contact the Guinness World Record to verify as I was one of the winner of those group and they did verify that although it was a group I was a winner within that group and with all these assurance, I communicated this news in the media as one of the winner of Guinness World Record.
I HAVE STRUGGLED A LOT AND I AM
HAPPY THAT TO SOME EXTENT I HAVE
BEEN ABLE TO INTRODUCE MAGIC AS AN
ART FORM IN NEPAL ONE OF MY FUTURE
PLANS IS TO ESTABLISH A FOUNDATION
OF MAGIC GROUP AS THIS SHALL ENABLE
ALL THOSE INDIVIDUALS INTERESTED
IN MAGIC TO BE A PART AND ENHANCE
THEIR SKILLS AS WELL
HOW DOES THE PUBLIC OR ANYONE YOU SHOW YOUR MAGIC TO RESPOND? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?
I intend not only to perform, but observe the people to whom I have been performing and showcasing my magic tricks. Obviously, magic is all illusions and it is an art but what I find bad about is the Nepalese society is more into catching the Magic tricks rather than enjoying it. If I show the same trick to any foreigner, they are more appreciative, even if they know how I perform the trick. But in the context of Nepal, they are more curious in finding out exactly how i did it. Trying to be smarter and the dominating attitude is something that I really feel bad about. I find this same reaction every time and this lets me down.
WHAT KIND OF TRICKS DO YOU USUALLY PERFORM?
I do stage illusions, although it is not so popular in Nepal. If we see concerts, then people are eager to jump into by even paying an entrance worth 1000. And if I plan to do a grand magic show, then I rarely think that public will be interested as Magic has been merely established as an Art Form in Nepal. More recently, I am into Mind reading which is all about hacking people’s brain. As Magic is all about psychology playing with emotion. These days I am more into brain hacking, street magic and it all depends upon the spectator. But overall, I do perform every type of Magic and largely depends upon the audience.
AS A MAGICIAN YOU MUST HAVE HAD SOME TROUBLES WHILE DOING LIVE SHOWS. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR COOL DURING THAT TIME?
Yes, I do have such incidents. Being a magician, I need to perform with caution. And every magician intends to use a large portion of their brain with more preparedness including all the back up plans and the back up plans for those as well. Because we need to be ready to showcase the skills and answer the queries of the spectator. So, almost all of the magicians are technically prepared to handle all the situations even when the tricks intend to fail. I remember one event, where my magic failed terribly. I was supposed to turn blue inked water back into the sparkling clean water again. But due to some unfortunate technical mistakes, I was not able to turn the color of the water. The audience was curious seeking my magic, but something went wrong. As a magician, we need to let that surprise factor get more enhanced during shows. As I could not turn that water into a clear format, I again turned into flowers by relating to the other trick. So, it is difficult to find the mistakes of the magicians.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
Till date, Iw. Besides that, I am in regular touch with Magicians of international arena and I have got some good offers as well. One of the foreign magician group of Las Vegas, is willing to collaborate for a TV series of Magic Show in Nepal. I have initiated this concept with Kantipur and AP1 and based on the business proposals. But only time will tell if this can happen.
WORDS:SHREYA SANGROULA | PHOTO:PRITAM CHHETRI | LOCATION:CLUB DEJA VU