Skip to main content

The Magic of Godmen

Saturday last was a dull and soggy day and Kochi had still to awake from the Onam hangover. A reporter’s mare –dearth of ads and large empty spaces to fill. When someone said there was a Magic Show I volunteered to go- for the reason I would not have twiddle my thumb for the next few hours. The show had me spell bound.

The art of illusion illumed that dull and soggy day: the sleight of hand, the ventriloquist’s act and the yarns that embellished the spells captivated me. And even as I was transported to the world of make believe, travelling through the illusionary maze of deception, incredulous at what magician’s can do to one’s mind, an illuminati interrupted the colourful magical forays with an interlude grounded in reality. He introduced the element of skepticism. It was his lesson to us that magic is nothing but an art or entertainment and should not be mistaken for the sacred. He unravelled the mystery of the purportedly arcane relationship between the Gods and Godmen that enables the latter to produce vibhuthi from thin air. Those of us given to blind superstitious beliefs about Godmen were in for some therapy- we were shown the almost simplistic method of producing vibuthi. “There is nothing sacred or miraculous in this act. Godmen are not divined with special powers and it is only their love of the lucre that make Godmen turn the art of illusion into something holy.” Ezhupunna Gopinath revealed how vibuthi mixed with starch, made into sun- dried pellets could be hidden in the shirt- sleeves or in the folds of the palm. “When required the small pellets can be swiftly and deviously brought into the palm and crushed into powder.” Abracadabra! The magician had revealed the secrets of Godmen.

Another that I liked was the ventriloquist’s act. It was a deviation from the usual tricks of cards and handkerchiefs. Chinchu, the hand puppet was the serious looking doctor’s alter ego at play. Chinchu’s amorous demands –insistent ones- that he be kissed by those who came to talk to him seemed to embarrass the ventriloquist. It was a remarkable strategy and I almost forgot there was no delination between the creator and the creation. “This is not considered as a form of magic. I try to create all the emotions but I find romance and jealousy a little hard to enact. Perhaps it is because I am not romantic.” Said Dr Shafath.


Popular posts from this blog

The Suryanelli Girl: Her Story

Suryanelli: The place of no sun. 
  Roofs weighed down by rock bags to keep the wind from blowing them away
Off the Kerala state highway that connect the small, brash towns giddy with foreign remittances, sits an unassuming, modest home that goes by the name: Lovedale. A septuagenarian couple, a retired postmaster and a retired nurse, live here with their younger daughter and, a ghoulish past that continues to taunt every waking moment of their lives. The 33-year-old daughter smiles shyly revealing an innocence frozen in time. 17 years ago, the daughter, then a 16-year-old girl, had left home wearing a skirt and a blouse to go to school and returned sexually violated and terribly traumatized: her transformation from a carefree school girl to a bloated individual was violently shocking. The girl had been kept captive, fed sedatives and alcohol, traded for sex and raped by 42 men in a span of 40 days in the months of January and February 1996. The family’s tryst with rapists, the police, …

Free Masons: All about them

Free masonry- the 'spiritual society' of sacred brotherhood with its origins in antiquity has always been shrouded in mystery. Their initiation rites, rituals, symbolisms, secret signs and code of conduct have further enhanced the aura of mysteriousness. Is Free Masonry a remnant of an ancient religion that worshipped the Sun or is it just an exclusive, elitist boy's club that indulges in secret charity missions?
In 1961 the Grand Lodge of India, which is an off -shoot of the Grand Lodges of Scotland, England and Ireland was constituted. The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India Mr.Arun Chintopanth was recently here in Kochi to preside over the meeting of the Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India. In an exclusive interview with the Grand Master sought to demystify the Masonic Lodge. Arun Chintopanth in full regalia. Dont miss the apron. What is Free Masonry? It is not a service organisation. It is not a religious group. It is not a mutual benefit society but it is a combi…

Kerala Murals: The Dancing Narrative

Detail of the mural in the Pathy home in Coimbatore
Kerala Murals, once exclusive to the royal and sacred walls, instantly command your awe and reverence. The mesmerized beholder is then impelled into the realm of silence- transfixed by the play of Gods and Goddesses on the earthly walls.It is perhaps to create a genuflecting atmosphere that temples, palaces and churches in Kerala decorated their walls with intricate chumarchitrangal (murals) that told stories from the Mahabaratha, Ramayana, Puranas and the Bible. One of the most fascinating works of mural art is on the walls of the MattancherryPalace at Kochi which was probably executed in the late sixteenth century. It’s the Ramayana epic that seamlessly unfolds in the palliyara (royal bed chamber) on the upper half of the walls while the border is covered with simple textile designs that mural artists call veeralli pattu.Murals in the Mattancherry PalaceHowever this highly stylized art went out of fashion for most part of the twenti…