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Time for the Taj to disappear?


MAGIC JUST stepped out of the pages of J.K. Rowling's works and took a bow, no not Harry Potter, more an Albus Dumbledore but no occidental version this. K. Lal is the kohl-eyed veteran magician with much the same talents who has been regaling audiences across the world since more than six decades. His unlined face and effervescent personality however belies his age and gives no hint of any retirement plans. Lal started learning magic at the age of five when he decoded all of a magician's tricks at a show and thus began his education on the streets of Kolkota, the land of magic and witchcraft where every nook and cranny has its own shaman. "My family was up in arms when I decided to become a magician as it was really looked down upon, so I would sneak out of school everyday to learn, it was then that I promised myself that I would take the art to its zenith," says Lal. Since then he has transfigured animals into people, twisted people into many shapes and his magnum opus-cutting his son into half. So is magic just a sleight of the hand? "No, magic is anything that transcends the ordinary, when one fails to describe things in words one calls it magic. When Lata Mangeshkar sings her voice has magic, when a great writes his words have magic," explains the magician, adding, "it is a combination of art, science, optical illusion and hypnotism."


Hundreds of awards including the fastest magician of the world and more than 19,000 performances later his ultimate dream remains unfulfilled: "One day I will vanish the Taj Mahal," he says.

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