Thursday, November 30, 2023

The “kala” of reading the thoughts

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In an exclusive chat with The Pioneer, Dr. Kruti Parekh takes us through her magical journey of how magic chose her, and how she’s also the world’s premier mentalist.

Shikha Duggal

Her method of mind-reading is unique, gaining insights into someone’s innermost thoughts is no less than a supernatural power. But mentalism cannot be confused with an unfounded belief because Dr. Kruti Parekh clarifies it’s the actual combination of neuro, hypnosis and psychological analysis.

It’s this perfect mystery only that made her into the world’s premier mentalist. However, to know a little about how a mentalist leads her lifestyle: the professional magician narrates in an exclusive interview — “As a wide-eyed five-year-old, I embarked on a journey to Lonavala. It was there that I encountered my first-ever magic show, courtesy of a skilled “Madari”. The sheer wonder and bewilderment that coursed through me as I watched the ball disappear from one place to another, and the bird evaporate into thin air, was beyond my imagination. I was fascinated by this art form, and I approached the “Madari” to teach me magic. My insistent pleas eventually led to him imparting a few tricks to me, which I learned with utmost eagerness.”

Furthermore in the interview, a surprising fact discloses: Dr. Kruti Parekh is actually our country’s first test-tube baby at birth! And then her engagement with the realm of mentalism is an extra feature of her life.

Once she returned to Mumbai, her newfound passion was forgotten. But, as fate would have it, she found herself at FantasyLand, a whimsical theme park resembling the likes of Disneyland, and witnessed another magical performance.“This time, with my little knowledge of magic, I could easily decipher the illusions the magician was creating on stage. I approached the performer after the show, requesting to perform some magic for the audience with his tricks.

To my surprise, he agreed, unknowingly underestimating my seriousness. I effortlessly executed the tricks, the audience mistook me for the magician’s assistant, eagerly taking pictures with me and asking for my autograph. The attention was a heady feeling that caught my eye, but the path that followed was by no means a bed of roses.

Without access to modern-day resources, there were only a handful of generic magic books available, and no one was willing to teach me magic. My only option was to watch other magicians perform, trying to decipher their secrets, and learn. It was a journey akin to that of “eklavya of magic” where my undying passion was my only guide.”

As time passed, she began performing at the festivities, and the appreciation from the audience led to more significant opportunities. In hindsight, it was magic that chose her! “As a mentalist, my focus is on creating the illusion of extraordinary mental abilities.

I use psychological techniques, suggestions, and a deep understanding of human behavior to create the impression that I can read minds, predict the future, or influence people’s thoughts and actions. My performances are often more intimate and interactive than those of an illusionist or a magician, and I rely on my own powers of observation and intuition to create my illusions.”

As she also works as a motivational speaker for the corporates, she was always interested in the paranormal world. And so, “As a globetrotting performer, I have been fortunate enough to grace some of the most prestigious stages in the world, entertaining audiences of the highest caliber. However, it is often said that it’s the little things that leave the biggest impression on our hearts.

It’s no wonder that many people mistake it for supernatural power, even those who are educated! At its core, mentalism relies on the performer’s ability to create the illusion of mind-reading, prediction, and other extraordinary mental abilities that seem to defy logic. This illusion can be so convincing that it’s easy to misunderstand.”

Unfortunately, some mentalists may take advantage of this misunderstanding and claim to possess supernatural powers to exploit and deceive others. Dr. Kruti has seen this aspect too! This can lead to negative perceptions of mentalism as a field, especially when fraudulent spiritual or psychic practitioners use mentalism techniques to create the illusion of divine or supernatural knowledge, leading people to make decisions based on false beliefs, and manipulate them for personal and financial gain.

“While mentalism can be a powerful tool for entertainment and communication, it’s crucial to use it responsibly and ethically, and to always respect the boundaries and consent of others. Mentalism, like any other skill or art form, is not inherently good or bad; it depends on how it’s used. As mentalists, it’s our responsibility to use our skills for positive and constructive purposes, and to help educate and inform the public about the true nature and potential of mentalism as a performing art. With responsible and ethical use, mentalism can be a fascinating and powerful form of entertainment and communication that can enhance people’s understanding of themselves and others.”

Most of her learning has been self taught by watching other magicians perform, and thus, it would not be wrong to say that she had many masters and the struggle to find them and learn from them have made her feel like she has gone through many lives with the training process so she would like to cheekily say — “many masters and through many lives have honed my artform. However It is because of this one person without whom I don’t think I would have been able to know, understand or even be the artist that I have become today . His name was William Zambago.

He saw my performance on television one day and called up my father and told him that if I was to make a mark in the field of magic then I would need to stage illusions like cutting people into two vanishing people and he was the one who could teach me that. He was 95 years old and I was five years old. He met me and promised to teach me all his knowledge only if I promised him to take his artform live another hundred years. I have been lucky to have been his student and also take his favourite act of “black art” to new heights with my original concepts.”

Along the way, she has encountered obstacles that could have easily deterred her from pursuing her passion! From no one willing to teach her magic, being disqualified from magic competitions, to facing discouragement from others who believed that magic was not a suitable career path, to experiencing gender biases and societal pressures, to enduring the ridicule of those who doubted her abilities — she faced numerous roadblocks.

“However, my unwavering determination has given me the courage to set my own rules and never give up. These negative experiences have only fuelled my desire to succeed and motivated me to chase my dreams even more. Those who truly value hard work and ethics will see your worth and appreciate your efforts.

I have also taken on the responsibility of curating social messages and designing awareness initiatives on environmental conservation, mental health, and other vital issues. In a live setting, I curate a range of concepts that generate unforgettable experiences for my audiences.”

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