I AM AN ILLUSION: Karan Singh

Yes, that’s how Karan Singh chooses to describe himself. According to his blog, he also calls himself a ‘mind reader’, ‘lie detector’ and ‘chicken eater’.“I use magic, psychology, misdirection and showmanship, mixed with a bit of hypnosis to create the illusion of mind reading!”, he explains.

Karan Singh was invited by the Psychology Department of Lady Shri Ram College to perform as part of the Positive Psychology Symposium on February 19,2016.. Subscribing to the virtues of hope and self efficacy, he firmly believes that if you put your mind to it, you can do it. He isn’t your average extraordinary magician. There was more to magic, as the audience quickly found out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words. His entry to the stage and his very presence exemplified effervescence.

Right off, he chose Dr. Priti Dhawan- the HOD of Psychology Department- as the participant of his first trick and was applauded soon after for not only pulling off the ingenious trick but also for drawing attention of the audience to subtle cues that were the secret behind the trick. Putting his wits and sense of humour(self depreciating humour largely) to good use, he was successful in amazing the audience with his immaculate tricks and entertaining them with occasional harmless jokes thrown in for good measure. Soon several individuals in the audience were bubbling with the desire to be a participant. The wishes of a few lucky ones was indeed fulfilled since all of his tricks involved students.

His performance was much more than these tricks as they were interspersed with him sharing his anecdotal wisdom. He emphasized that for all their differences and uniqueness, humans across the world were actually essentially similar- an observation and conclusion that helped him forge illusions. The crucial role of the fundamental principles of Psychology and unflinching Sherlockian observation to weave this magic could not be missed. Consequently, a number of students were taken aback when he confessed that he had never formally studied psychology. He had been a B.Com student instead. His narration of his autobiographical memories were so riveting that every single person in the audience cheered for him for the trick he performed as a comeback to the school bully who had humiliated him in front of his childhood crush.

In another moving narration of his affectionate bond with his grandfather, he recalled his Dada’s life advice: ” Puttar kaam aisa karo ki kaam ko bhi khushi ho ki tumne usey kiya.” Besides these stories, he was also very vocal about his stands about hypnosis and “magic”, which was followed by what was in all likelihood his most loved trick this day.

He made one participant “hypnotize” the other! In words of the “hypnotizer” Tanvi, the experience was unreal. “In the back of my mind I knew that this was a trick and obviously not possible, but it was incredibly hard to believe given the evidence.So, yeah, unreal.” There was an audible gasp among the audience as they witnessed hypnosis live in front of them. The consequent elation in the audience was conspicuous by the fact that before he could even finish inviting a student for his final presentation, a girl rushed to the stage eagerly to be a participant.

A student from the Mathematics Department, Atisha remarked: “Unbelievable! This man is unbelievable!”. Yamini Bhagat, a student from the Psychology Department itself revealed: “I enjoyed the show. It was lovely! But…I am sceptic as a person so…I just enjoyed it. Like entertainment value wohooo but that’s that.” I reckon the success of the show was evident by how he could amuse a grown up logical adult audience with such illusions who were completely aware that they were nothing but illusions.

Reported By:  Aishwarya Bajaj

Photo Credits: Akshita Negi & Parul Rajwanshi

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