They’re still minors but they’re great at decieving you in a way that is absolutely delightful: these two boys from Karnataka perform magic and they are the only two Indians to represent the country at an international magic competition.
Just back from the competition organized by the Thailand International Magic Extravaganza 2015 in Bangkok, Tejaswi Ananth and Srivatsa Hemmady are both excited but also highly motivated youth.
"We have a television box but no cable connection because our family policy is that 'don't see TV, instead be seen on TV’," says 17-year-old Tejaswi. For 13-year-old Srivatsa, performing magic tricks and other feats is simply “happiness”.
A student of Pupil Tree School in Ballari, Srivatsa says he thoroughly enjoyed performing at the mall in Bangkok where the competition was held.
Did not feel any fear? “No, I have grown up on stage,” Srivatsa says. One of the tricks he performed before the large audience in Bangkok was the Milk Can Escape. It took him three years to learn how to get it right. A year ago, at a show in Ballari district, he felt confident enough to present it to an audience: he escapes from a water-filled milk can in 80 seconds.
One feat he is really proud of, is his ability to ride a motorbike in a circular ring blind-folded. Again, when you ask him if he wasn’t scared when he started learning it as a four-year child, Srivatsa says that he began practicising in the yard in front of his house before he began to do it in public.
Although this is Tejaswi's first international performance, he won the Merlin Coin, which is the second most prestigious award in magic after Merlin award – the Oscar for magic.
Tejaswi performed the LED poi act, in which two multi-coloured led sticks are used to make various designs. “I also do vanishing acts and cards tricks. I have mastered around 500 magic tricks so far,” he said.
Learning magic as a child
Both Tejaswi's and Srivatsa learned magic as children from their fathers, and they not only perform magic tricks, but also other kinds of feats which include memory feats, juggling, and illusion.
"If he had to stop me from crying, he would pull out a trick. I gave my first stage performance at the age of 4. And by 10, I was an artist who had to be approached only through bookings," Tejaswi said.
Srivatsa’s earliest memories of magic dae back to around when he was four years old. He says he can even recall certain tricks his father used to perform.
Both boys say they are lucky to have supportive schools.
"My school was very supportive. They would give me attendance whenever I had to miss classed for performances. Even in college, my teachers would stay back an hour or two and teach the lessons I have missed,” Tejaswi says.
Srivatsa too says his teachers and fellow students appreciate what he is trying to do. “Sometimes, I teach my friends some tricks,” he says, adding that he does not perform tricks during class.
In 2011, when he was still 13, Tejaswi won the National Award for magic in the junior category. Tejaswi believes that magic won’t fail him and wants to start an artist management company. He cant wait to turn 18 so that he can take up entertainment as a full-time occupation.
Srivatsa however, is still too young to think about whether he wants to do magic full-time. But he will never give it up completely, he says.