What do you ask when you first meet a magician? Since this was the first time I was speaking to a magician, I too, wasn’t sure of what to ask a magician. Having started with magic tricks at the age of ten, Tijo Varghese has now entered the India Book of Records for performing blindfolded for an hour and performing continuously for two hours- the longest magic performance.
The journey for Tijo or Thaiparambil Thomas began when he was ten and a magician performed in his school. He was so taken by the act that he begged the magician to teach him a few tricks but the magician brushed him off saying magic tricks are a well-kept secret. He then met another magician, Magician Jammu who agreed to teach the ten-year old a few magic tricks. He also got training from Magician Johnson.
His first gig was at a “Birthday party for my father’s client’s son. I was ten years old then and I started with simple tricks like vanishing flowers, etc.,” Tijo says. “With time and with practice, I graduated to performing at clubs and various other events and started with complicated tricks like illusions and mentalism,” he adds.
Tijo swears by the adage ‘Practice makes perfect’ and practices for two hours each day to get his tricks right. And therefore rightfully prides in never getting a trick wrong. Certified with an honorary doctorate in record breaking from the World Records University, he has also been planning a doctorate from the University of Peace and Education from Bangalore for which he will be performing at the University.
His most complicated trick so far has been making a girl appear from thin air into a cage. “That and illusions are quite tricky, so are levitations” Tijo confesses. Tijo heavily relies on audience reactions and alters his act accordingly. “Positive audience reaction is what every magician strives for- that’s what gives us satisfaction,” he says. So his magic changes according to the age group he performs for. “While kids prefer simpler tricks, adults prefer illusions like head cutting illusion, etc. and those above 30 prefer mentalism,” he says.
Over the last twenty years, Tijo has travelled all over India with his act and performed at places like Muscat and Oman. Tijo who tries out all new material in front of his family, says that his parents and wife are very supportive of his career. Besides turning tricks, Tijo also helps his father manage the family business, one of the largest manufacturing units of DC motors, an electrical machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy, which is used in many machines.
Coming back to what do you ask a magician, he says, the most commonly asked question is “Do you chant any mantras during the act?” and the answer is an emphatic no!