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Once we were watching a magic show by a local magician at an army event for the soldiers and their families. There were the usual flowers coming out of empty containers, a dove flying out of a top hat, coins being tapped out of ears, never ending stream of water being poured out of a bottle.

Since it had all been so many years back, three decades at least, I don’t remember what else was in the magician’s repertoire that evening. What I DO remember, and very well, is the very last item on the show.

Typical of magicians everywhere, he too had kept the audience involved with his lively chatter while performing tricks. I have reserved the best for the last, he told us towards the end of the show. Each and everyone of you present here will be getting a laddu, he declared.

There was immediate humming, like a beehive in action, at this unexpected announcement. Not that anyone among the adults believed him, but it was still fun. After all who doesn’t like sweet and yum laddus? (I do not like sweet things , but that’s not the point). Even the hyperactive children who got tired of sitting in one place and contrary to their parents wishes were shouting and running around with their friends (the program was in an open ground) had stopped to listen.

The magician next requested everyone in the audience to close their eyes, hold out their palm for the laddu and say ‘gili-gili!’after him. Had everyone got that? Of course they had.

“Gili-gil!” he shouted into the mike, breaking our eardrums. Well, almost.

“Gili-gili”came a half-hearted response from those assembled, mainly children eager for the laddu to appear. Many of the adults had not closed their eyes or held out their palms.

“This won’t do,” he frowned. “Every one of you, close your eyes, extend you palm, and repeat loudly after me, GILI-GILI!”

This time may be a few eardrums did break. But good sports that the adults were, as also caught up in the excitement of the moment, everyone complied.

“Gili-gili!” they said, together.

“Once again!” he insisted. That according to him had not been loud enough. Tepid. No way was it enough for laddus to appear.

“GILI-GILI!” shouted everyone in one voice.

“Ahh! There you are,” the magician said. “That’s better. Now open your eyes and look at your palms!”

Of course there weren’t any laddus. The grownups knew there wouldn’t be any, though secretly a few MIGHT have hoped otherwise. I have noticed that people are simply waiting to believe anything anyone says however improbable or illogical it may be. Anyways, let me not digress.

The children though were a different matter. They were a much disappointed lot.

“No laddus, ehhhhh?” The magician teased the audience. “So you thought saying ‘gili’gili’ would get you laddus? Oh no, no, no, no, NO! ‘Gili’gili’ will NOT get you laddus. Never. Life is not as easy as that, dear friends. Hard work is the only thing that works in life! So forget gili-gili, and magic, instead work hard for whatever it is you want in life. And now, let me wish you all a good night!”

No gili-gili. No easy way out. Only hard-work and dedication. It was a momentous ending to a mediocre magical show that evening.

©Shail Mohan 2016

Day 19 NaBloPoMo 2016

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