Spectators watched with bated breath when magician Rajeev Memunda dipped his hand in boiling oil with an enigmatic smile.
The applause was thunderous when he showed his unhurt hand. Rajeev was performing at the programme ‘Divyatbudha Anavaranam’ held at Vadakara recently.
Exploring the art and science of magic, magician Rajeev Memunda has been unfolding the secrets of prevailing superstitions in society for the past 23 years.
“Manual dexterity and attention to details are required to be a successful magician,” says Rajeev.
“I explain the secret of magic to viewers with an aim to save them from godmen,” he says.
On the secret of the boiling oil magic, he says, “Before boiling oil, I pour lime juice in the pot, which helps to create a notion among the public that the oil is boiling even at 40 degree Celsius, but oil starts boiling only at 140 degree Celsius,” he chuckles.
Rajeev uses tricks that underscore the need to be a rational man in the present society. “Contrary to the popular belief, literate persons are superstitious,” he says. “I have had several experiences substantiating my views.”
A part-time LIC agent in Vadakara, Rajeev struggled a lot to draw the attention of the public.”Since I came from a financially backward family, I craved for popular stage shows in the beginning years. I used to send cards to schools, seeking an opportunity to perform. But when I took magic as a serious profession I thought of using the medium for the well-being of society. Even at that time, I was not sure about the acceptance of magic,” he says.
Gradually, he found his space in society. At present Rajeev is one of the most sought-after magicians in the district. In association with Suchitwa Mission, he has successfully staged around 70 magic shows (Aarogyajalam) across the district.
“As far as I know, distributing pamphlets and leaflets to children will not bring the desired result. Through magic shows, we exploit the curiosity of children,” says Rajeev.
Prevention of communicable diseases, waste treatment and personal cleanliness are the topics that he covers in his magic shows. P P Nanu Master from Kuttyadi was his first guru in magic. Then he moved to magician Sarang to learn more complex tricks.
“I was the first magician who performed ‘paper tearing’ magic before the public in a magic competition and convention held at Hyderabad in 1996,” he says.
On the International Year of Forest he has formulated a special series of magic shows aiming to spread awareness on the need to protect forests. AIDS Control Society has already contacted him to spread awareness on AIDS in tribal colonies and schools in Wayanad.
“I used to be very shy in front of the public. Gradually my love for magic instilled confidence in me,” he says. At present there are many schools which organise magic shows to shed stage fear among children. The National Rural Health Mission has empanelled him as a worker to spread awareness. Now most of the departments, including health and education, use magic as a medium to spread information.