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Magic on the menu

As you make food vanish from your plate, at Oasis Food Court, table magician Joe Peravoor makes the spoons, napkins and knives disappear...


He places three one-rupee coins on the dinner table; and asks you to make sure there are three of them. You touch the coins and count them -- "one, two, and three". He takes them in his palm and taps his closed fist with a pen. Abracadabra! And the coins vanish!

"Ooh! Magic... Wow!" the children squeal in delight. Yup! Magic. "Want to see some more?" enquires Joe Peravoor, who performs table magic at Oasis Food Court, a restaurant at Kesavadasapuram in the city.

Joe, from Peravoor in Kannur district, runs an Event Management firm, `Designer', in Bangalore. He used to perform magic at school and college. "I used to be paid some Rs. 200 or Rs. 300 then. I performed shows for fun. However, I had no formal training in magic."

While doing his MBA, Joe decided to pursue magic, which by then had become his passion. He trained under A. K. Dutt, a noted magician in Bangalore, and Rajamurthy, one of the directors of the magic academy run by magician Gopinath Muthukad.

For the past one month, Joe has been performing table tricks and entertaining the guests at Oasis. Entertaining clients with magic is a novel concept in the city. The table-magic show was the brainchild of Mohammed Eqbal, general manager, Oasis, who chanced to meet Joe. Thus began the shows from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Clients place their orders and have to wait for about 15 to 20 minutes for the food to be served. Very often, the kids are found to be restless and families at a loss to find a topic for conversation. Inevitably, most customers grow tired of waiting for the food. So Joe treats them to a small magic show, while the chefs prepare the dishes.

The magic, Joe explains, is called table-hop magic. He dons a magician's hat but does not carry other accessories for performing magic and makes use of whatever is available on the dinner table such as the napkins, salt and pepper shakers and the spoons. "I make spoons and salt shakers vanish. Forks are broken and joined back," says Joe.

Joe's popularity is fast catching on and these days he's one of the most sought after invitees at parties and celebrations at clubs and hotels. He has performed a magic show at the Taj hotel at Varkala and the Swiss Cafe apart from a few other clubs in the city.

Joe specialises in `conjuring' magic, and has to his credit over 700 stage shows. Most of these have been conducted in Bangalore. He has also done escape acts such as the fire escape, spike escape and the graveyard escape. The spike escape act involves the magician being chained and a spiked ball is dropped on to him. "I do my escape act within 60 seconds. The graveyard escape act involves being shut in a coffin and buried in a grave. And I escape from the coffin inside the grave," he explains.

Joe shuffles a pack of cards, tells you to take a few and count them. You are told to hold it in your palm while he blows over the cards in his hand. "Now, count the cards. Hasn't the number increased?" You can't help but nod in affirmation and wonder how it happened. These may seem `amazing' to a gullible viewer, but this, as Joe says, is "what we magicians call tricks and you call magic". And soon he will do a `vanishing act' and get on with his job in Bangalore.

SMITHA SADANANDAN

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