Special session works its charm to cheer up locked-in magicians

BANGALORE, JUNE 2: If there is a bright side to the pandemic, it has to be the opportunity to attend a lot of online sessions with fellow magicians from across the world. It is this idea that has encouraged The Bangalore Ring to schedule not just our monthly meetings online, but also a lot of additional “special sessions” for our members and the larger magic community in India. 

Ring 177 hosted an open session on 30th May and we were happy to see good attendance and participation from our members and guests. We had no real agenda other than performing and (sometimes) sharing magic with our magician friends. And this meeting more than lived up to all expectations, spreading fun and cheer to everybody that joined in. 

As has been the norm in most of our recent meetings, the trick session was kicked off by the iTwins. Master Ishaan Shenoy performed a perfect coincidence effect, where a card selected by a volunteer was found predicted with two other cards – whose value and suit matched the freely chosen card! He was followed by Master Inesh Shenoy who performed a longish routine where aces appeared, transformed, vanished, and finally appeared in his pockets! 

Venu Vinjamoori produced a coin inside an empty clear plastic cup, and was kind enough to share the inner workings of making this effect work.  Dibya Guha came next and performed an over the internet effect, that created synchronicity with everybody playing along in their own homes. 

Prahlad Saldanha took inspiration from Nakul Shenoy’s “Hitchhiking the Matrix” act in the last meeting, and shared how he had worked on that idea and created a whole act around it. It was inspiring to all to see and learn the way Prahlad had worked on making an impossible prediction work. He was kind to share all the thoughts and nuances of making this effect work. 

Just when the members thought our minds were already blown, Nakul Shenoy then turned the tables on Prahlad by asking him to pull a book from the bookshelf behind him and went on to divine a word freely chosen by him. Master Inesh Shenoy, Dibya Guha, and Prahlad Saldanha then took turns and performed one effect after another, making this another fantastic outing (albeit inside our own houses) for all the attendees. 

  Other members that attended this fun session included Karthik Rao, Dr BLN Raju, Unusualist AJ, and Subramanian Cholayil. Before we knew it, two and half hours were up in what was meant to be a two hour session, and the members grudgingly called the special session to an end.

We now eagerly look forward to our monthly session that will be held on June 13th at 10:00AM IST, being the second Sunday of the month. 

The Force was in Full Flow, even if May the Ninth

BANGALORE, MAY 12: The Bangalore Ring met on the 9th of May for our monthly meeting via Zoom, as has been the norm since early last year. This meeting was well attended by our members and magician guests, and saw a lot of performances and discussions related to magic. 

The meeting began at 10 sharp and was called to order by our Ring Secretary Nakul Shenoy. He took the opportunity to welcome everybody, introduce our new members, and apprise everybody with news of the upcoming annual magic convention of the IBM. Our member Dibya Guha has been contributing many of his effects to numerous magic magazines, including the Linking Ring. The members congratulated Dibya on his recent publications, and discussed a few of the effects. 

The trick session began with Master Ishaan Shenoy performing his take on the impossible prediction over zoom. A card selected from a shuffled pack by a distant volunteer over zoom, was correctly identified by young Ishaan. He was followed by his twin, Master Inesh Shenoy who entertained everybody with a rendition of “your card at your number”. 

With the iTwins kicking off the trick session in style, all the members joined in with performances making this one of the best trick sessions ever. Kumaran Anandan presented an interesting take on twisting palm illusion, and everybody discussed the ways in which this could be presented over zoom. Our Ring Treasurer, Karthik Rao came next and showed how he could still divine a freely selected card, whether the volunteer lied or told the truth. 

Prahlad Saldanha, a friend of the Ring, who had joined us for the first time during these zoom sessions, performed a fascinating Triumph effect over zoom. Our star contributor, Dibya Guha took the screen and performed what he called was “a special trick for IBM Ring 177”. The meaning  of those words were evident to the group only when at the end of the effect the words, “IBM”, “Ring”, and “177” appeared on three hitherto blank cards.  Dibya followed this with a wonderful Kings & Queens transposition effect. 

Our resident tech guru and creator of a number of top magic apps, including Hydra, Shameer Salim took over the screen and performed an effect where a series of freely made choices were found to have been in our inbox for days! He was kind enough to share his thinking of making tech magic work for the audiences. 

One of our past members and top illusionist, Kuddroli Ganesh had joined the meeting from Mangalore and shared a couple of performance clips with the gathering. One was an beautifully choreographed Triumph like card act, while the second was a mind reading with music effect that Ganesh had performed in the local (Kannada) version of Big Boss. Ganesh who is an accomplished flute player, demonstrated how magic and music was combined by him to make this act entertaining and memorable for the Big Boss contestants, and of course all those watching from their homes.

The mind reading effect inspired Nakul Shenoy to perform next, and he warmed up with a routine of invisible dice. The values of two imaginary dice thrown by Dibya were easily divined by Nakul. He followed this with another mind reading act where he metaphorically brought the Hitchhikers Guide in contact with the Matrix, or at least a matrix of numbers and a freely derived number led the audience to the crux of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Mind reading was in the air now, and our traditional magic specialist Subramanian Cholayil performed a fun trick where he divined a card merely thought of by Shameer. It was now the turn of Shreyas Vemenchery to perform an entertaining version of “card finding nose”. This ended with a neat surprise at the end when one card found by the nose, transformed into another – being the chosen card. The trick session was brought to a fitting close by our Sergeant At Arms, Unusualist AJ who performed and then shared his “Side Buckle Control”. 

This was followed by a discussion on motley topics involving magic, and especially magic in the pandemic. Others that attended the meeting included Illusionist Clifford, Srikanth VC, and Saurav Mohanty. The meeting was called to a close at the end of two and half hours, but with the promise of meeting for a special session on 30th May. The members look forward to catching up at this additional session in two weeks.

Bangalore Ring Magicians get together to beat the April Blues

BANGALORE, APRIL 11: The Bangalore Ring met to host its monthly meeting on Sunday, April 11th. As has been the habit since the pandemic first wrested control of our world, the members of IBM Ring 177 met via a Zoom Meeting for the two hour monthly session.

The meeting was called to order by the Ring Secretary, Nakul Shenoy, who apprised the group of the latest news and updates of the Ring. Our newest and 30th member of The Bangalore Ring, Avinash Sridhar, was officially welcomed to the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Ring by Karthik Rao, the Ring Treasurer.

Avinash Sridhar who joined our meeting way past his midnight from Connecticut, USA, introduced himself to the group and was welcomed by all the members. Avinash also got the trick session rolling with a wonderful over the screen synchronicity effect with a pack of playing cards.

Members of the Bangalore Ring make a happy picture at the April 2021 monthly meeting.

Master Inesh Shenoy and Master Ishaan Shenoy followed this with a couple of card effects. Inesh made the four aces appear at random places stopped by a spectator, and then he and Ishaan performed an impossible prediction effect, where a freely-selected, signed card exchanged places with a card that was kept in full view.

Karthik Rao, Avinash Sridhar, and Tharun Iyer all shared their experiences of a couple of magic effects they had procured recently, and other members weighed in on this with their thoughts. Nakul Shenoy then performed an over the zoom mind-reading effect where he divined a card that was chosen by one of the participants on the other side of the world.

This was followed by Tharun Iyer who showed off his prowess with a pack of cards, literally as he demonstrated a couple of cool cardistry moves. After that, Tharun blew everybody’s minds when he very visually inserted a card into the centre of the deck, only to have it return back on top.

Unusualist AJ brought the house down with a series of coin vanishes and transformations. His performance also brought the trick session to an end. Saurav Mohanty, Kumaran Anandan, and Dibya Guha were among the other members that joined the meeting today, making it so much interactive and fun.

The members have decided to host a special session next Sunday as a lot of other members had expressed their inability to join today, and expressed their availability and interest in a session next week. The topic of this session will be decided offline and communicated to all the members via our Signal group.

In addition to the regular activities of the Ring, Karthik Rao proposed that we have a Magic Book Club, that meets regularly to read, study, and discuss various magic books. The idea is to have a separate session with interested magicians to inculcate and help in the process of reading and learning from conjuring books.

The monthly meeting was called to an end by Nakul Shenoy, with the announcement that we would all meet on the 18th of April for a Special Session. Our next monthly meeting will be at 10:00AM IST on the 9th of May, being the second Sunday of that month.

Stay well, stay safe. Make Magic.

It Rained Cups and Balls this Sunday!

SECOND Special Session OF THE BANGALORE RING A RESOUNDING HIT.

BANGALORE, MARCH 28: We had a most wonderful time on Sunday, and wanted to tell you all about it! 

As announced earlier, over a dozen magicians of The Bangalore Ring 177 caught up yesterday morning for a special session on what is known as the oldest magic trick in the world. This second session in an ongoing series could not have gone any better with members joining this Zoom session from Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. And of course, we had representation from Australia and the USA too! 

The session opened with the iTwins performing their Cups and Balls routines to the gathering. Ishaan Shenoy presented his comic-dom inspired storyline for why the balls kept penetrating the cups, and Inesh Shenoy followed with his story of finding three magical cups in his great-grandfather’s attic!

Screen-grab time to make a happy picture at the Cups & Balls Special Session of The Bangalore Ring.

This was followed by a quick introduction to various types of cups and their advantages by Leons George, who has logged in from Australia. A quick recap of the most basic moves and handling of the cups was presented by Nakul Shenoy. Ajit Badarinath then shared some additional moves that would be of good use to the beginners. One of the most liked moves he taught was to appear the three balls one after the other at the end of the wand.

A hands-on session was then held with Abhilash Purohit (from Bangalore) and Shameer Salim (from USA) acting as the students, where they–along with everybody else in the session–tried all the moves that were discussed and got a basic routine going. Raja Moorthy joining in from Trivandrum then took center-screen and shared some nuances of handling the cups and a wonderful way of making the cups and balls appear as part of the opener.

Dibya Guha of Kolkata came up with a unique idea of producing the three balls and introducing them into play. Shyamal Kumar from Kolkata shared his take on using special cups, that are added in or exchanged for the real cups, to help accentuate the effects in interesting ways. Subramanian Cholayil from Kerala introduced the group to the most basic of the Indian Cups and Balls acts, using one cup and a ball. This as expected won everybody’s attention and admiration.

Raja Moorthy, Unusualist AJ, and Leons George also weighed in on the various type of balls, their pros and cons, and of course the variety of magic wands and when and why to use them. Overall, this was a fun hands-on session, with a lot of learning for all levels of performers.

The way all our members tried their hand at different moves and routines, and were wholeheartedly helped along by others, was the most wonderful thing to experience and be a part of. Before we knew it, the two hours were up and we grudgingly ended this session with the promise of getting back together to discuss intermediate and advanced handlings in a forthcoming session.

In addition to those already mentioned, we also had Arun Loganathan from Chennai and Dr BLN Raju from Hyderabad joining this session. The special session was called to a close and we now look forward to catching up on the second Sunday of April for our regular monthly meeting. We are also in the process of hosting more special sessions on specific magic topics and a very special international magic lecture! More on this soon.

We hope to see you in our next monthly meeting on Sunday, the 11th of April at 10:00AM IST. As always, it will be held over Zoom and we look forward to catching up with you. 

Stay safe, stay well. Make Magic!

Magic in Full Flow at the March Meeting of the Bangalore Ring

BANGALORE, MARCH 14: While only a few members of IBM Ring 177 met for the March meeting on Sunday the 11th, they wholeheartedly proved that lesser attendance does not necessarily make lesser enthusiasm. As has been the recent norm, this meeting was conducted over Zoom, and our members joined in from all across India and one from the Middle East!

After a quick welcome and catch-up on sundry matters the meeting moved into the trick sessions. With each of the members performing multiple effects and sharing ideas, along tips and tricks, the meeting quickly became one of those where time just flies by!

Magicians try their hands at a coordinated pose, and fail miserably.

Dibya Guha, who joined us from Kolkata, shared his experience of getting a few of his effects published in Vanish and Genii magazine. All the members were very excited at this news, and insisted Dibya demonstrate these effects to us. After speaking of these effects, Dibya kicked off the Trick Session with a wonderful performance of an old and water effect with a few playing cards, which ended with a surprise appearance of the four queens.

Master Inesh Shenoy took the screen next and performed a neat card effect, where four cards freely selected by a volunteer transformed into the 4 Aces. He was followed by Nakul Shenoy, who performed a rather interesting “I know what you had for breakfast” prediction effect.

This inspired Dibya to come back with an interesting “What is your favourite chocolate?” effect, where he not only predicts the chocolate that the spectator wants, but also eats it!

Kumaran Anandan joining in from Chennai, performed an interesting truth or lie effect where the answers freely given by a spectator lead us to a predicted card on a clock-face. This inspired Nakul to jump in and use the card clock-face set up by Anandan to perform the Clock Mystery and make a prediction over Zoom.

Clifford Parakh joining us from Goa presented a variation of a three card monte, performed with four differently backed cards and a few coins! With each repeat, the effect only got more unbelievable. Just when we thought this could not be beaten, Subramanian Cholayil of Kerala introduced a small orb-like vial containing some green water. As he held it in his palm and concentrated, the water defied gravity and began rising up into the top of the vial. All the members agreed that is one of the most magical effects we have seen.

Dibya Guha then came back with an idea he has been working on and performed an interesting card prediction effect, where the prediction appears on a small everyday object. We are sure this is an idea he will share with the larger magic community soon, so we will hold on to the secret. Anand Omanakuttan joined the meeting from Bahrain, thus fulfilling the criteria to also make this monthly meeting “international”.

Before we knew it the two hours were up, and the members decided to catch up for a special session on Cups & Balls on the 28th of March. This will be the second session we are hosting on the most ancient of magic tricks. Our next monthly meeting will be held at 10AM on 11th of April, being the second Sunday of that month.

Stay safe, stay well. Make Magic!

Members of Bangalore Ring profess their love for Magic

BANGALORE: February 14th is celebrated all over as Valentines Day, but for our members it was just another chance to profess their love for magic. As with every month, The Bangalore Ring met via Zoom to discuss, perform, and exchange thoughts on Magic. This meeting was well attended by our members from all over India and one from the USA.

As has been a tradition now, the meeting started with our young guest performers Master Ishaan Shenoy and Master Inesh Shenoy kicking off the trick session. Ishaan had a volunteer pick a card after shuffling a pack and choosing one of the halves. He then asked the volunteer to take the pack behind his back, and move a few cards up and down the deck without looking. When the pack was spread a moment later it emerged that the spectator had mysteriously managed to place one of the cards (a face up one at that) right next to his chosen card! Inesh followed his twin with an adept presentation of Triumph, all to pose a question to the gathered magicians: “How do I appear the four aces at the end of this routine?” A few ideas were collected, and he has promised to work on his solution before the next meeting.  

Tuning in from all over India, to talk and make some magic!

Kumaran Anandan, who joined from Chennai, took the stage next and amazed us with a wonderful divination of a card he was randomly stopped at. He then queried the group to their ideas on how the effect was performed. The resulting conversation threw up a lot of good ideas that can be used, but nothing was as simple and direct as the method that Kumaran had employed. Best of all, it made perfect sense for a Zoom show, such as our meeting was. 

Shameer Salim, who was joining from the US, then flummoxed us with his take on the ACAAN: a simple direct effect where any card named is found at a specific pre-defined number. Again the theories that abounded in the open session to how this could be achieved was fantastic, but not as simple and direct as the method employed by Shameer.

Abhilash Purohit took this as the perfect stage to share an interesting app that he had originally built to help kids learn coding, which had since turned magical. Using what seemed like a children’s memory app, he demonstrated the uncanny ability of a spectator to be seen as psychic! While the effect was powerful in its own way, members weighed in with ideas on how the impact could be further improved — which was to everybody’s advantage.

It was now Nakul Shenoy’s turn to perform and share a couple of effects that have become his go-to for online performances. He showed how a randomly chosen card was in fact always facing us on the wall behind him. He also shared a couple of his favourite forces and the nuances of the handlings that made them most natural. To top it all, Nakul shared how he had recently joined the new audio-only social media platform called ClubHouse and ended up performing what may well be one of the first magic shows there.

On February 7th, he had hosted an open Q&A on Magic and Magicians, but when the dozen odd people that joined did not have many questions, Nakul had to switch to performing some of his favourite radio and long-distance magic effects — ending up with almost 40 minutes of unplanned audio-only performance. The learnings from this would fill a chapter!

Others who attended the February meeting included Karthik Rao, Soumyabrata Banerjee, and Subramanian Cholayil. Before calling the monthly meeting to a close, the members decided to hold a special jam session within the next couple of weeks on the topic of Cups and Balls. With in-ring resources like Shankar Junior, Raja Moorthy, Prahlad Acharya, and David Nobo, this promises to be one heck of a jam session. We will tell you all about it in the next issue. Stay tuned!

The Bangalore Ring meets to usher in the New Year in Style


BANGALORE: January 10th saw the first meeting of the new year for the Bangalore Ring. While attendance was sparse, the enthusiasm was not. Among those that attended this session were Saurav Mohanty, Shankar Junior, Shameer Salim, and Nakul Shenoy.

Staying true to the Zoom world we have been locked in, Nakul began the proceedings with a couple of over the screen effects. Joining him were his sons Master Inesh Shenoy and Master Ishaan Shenoy, both of whom performed magic with cards. Inesh made four aces mysteriously appear from a well mixed deck, while Ishaan performed a “Pick a Card” effect.

A small gathering, but one that was utmost fun and magical!

Then it was the turn of our guest Shankar Junior to regale us with some of his recent experiments with packet card effects. He was kind enough to not only share the workings of these effects, but also share the nuances of making them play big. 

Shameer who joined us from the US, shared with us some of the recent developments in the world of magic apps, and performed a new effect that he’s been developing. The interactions were so interesting that we did not know how the two hours just swept by. The meeting was called to a close and the Ring 177 will meet again on the 14th of February.

An October Fest filled with Magic and Joy

October 11th, Sunday, saw The Bangalore Ring host its monthly meeting via Zoom at 10:30am. There was no beer flowing, but the magic and camaraderie more than made up for it! The meeting began with the Ring President, Prahlad Acharya welcoming all the members and our special guests. Given that the pandemic is only appearing to get stronger and continuing to wreak havoc, a few minutes were spent enquiring to the well-being of all our members and their families.

Our Ring Secretary Nakul Shenoy had just received via post, his Order of Merlin certificate and lapel pin. He was requested to show off both these to the gathering, and all the members took turns in congratulating him. Leons George then congratulated the officers and members on the successful renaming of the IBM Ring 177 to “The Bangalore Ring”. Saying that this made him nostalgic about the Garden City, Leons added that this was indeed the best way to communicate what the Ring truly represents and stands for.

A joyful moment captured during the October Meeting of the Bangalore Ring.

This was followed by a slew of magical performances, beginning with the Shenoy “iTwins”. 11-year-old, Master Ishaan Shenoy rolled things off with a story of Time Travel, where a card everybody had seen vanished from the deck, only to reappear “back in time” in its hitherto empty pack! His twin, Master Inesh Shenoy followed him with a “Lucky Person Test”, which began breaking the card pack into four parts at the exact spot that a volunteer told him through the screen. He then turned over each of the top card of the four piles to show that they were the four aces – and announced that the volunteer was indeed a very lucky person.

Shameer Salim, one of our members based in USA, then performed another of his mind-blowing effects. He put his phone up on a stand, to ensure it was fully in view but not being handled by him at any point. He then showed a series of handwritten cards with names of famous personalities. A volunteer chose one of these – openly & in what was clearly a free choice – only to have his mind (and ours) blown away, when the phone was immediately turned around to display the photograph of exact same celebrity!

It was now time for Ajit Badarinath (AJ) to do a mini-lecture about the creative process involved in the innovation and manufacture of magic props. AJ shared a real-life example of a product he was involved with, taking us through the year-long process that took an basic idea to fruition, and ably demonstrated each of the kinks and improvements made to the same… before it was released to be a bestselling product in the magic fraternity.

Leons George, our member based in Australia, then performed his version of the “Bowls and Balls”, where he made full use of his prowess in both the western and Indian versions of the oldest magic trick in the world. Nakul Shenoy took the screen next and performed his take on an old, well-known effect: five randomly thought of cards, match the exact ones that were picked by the spectator. Nakul kindly shared his touches to this classic, making it Zoom-friendly and of course, bringing in many possibilities to make it a perfect miracle.

Clifford Norman Parakh seen performing for Leons George.

All those wonderful performances, and we were not done yet! The best was kept for last. Our past member and special guest of the day, Clifford Parakh from Goa has been performing many many online gigs, and he shared some of his learnings with us. Most of all, Clifford performed one of his favourite effects–a randomly stopped, face-up card matches a prediction always in view– and even shared his handlings of the same.

In addition to those already named above, the meeting was attended by Dr BLN Raju, Saurav Mohanty, and Ring Treasurer, Karthik Rao. The members also expressed happiness that the Ring was continuing to grow at a steady rate, and we now have 23 members! After a quick discussion, it was unanimously decided to advance the Monthly Meeting time by 30 minutes and changed to 10:00AM. This would help our international members logging in from Australia, USA, and the Middle East.

The October meeting of Ring 177 was grudgingly called to a close and we now look forward to the next monthly meeting to be held on November 8th at 10AM IST. See you there!

Bangalore Ring Anniversary Bash proves Magical

On 27th September, we celebrated the 56th Anniversary of the IBM Ring 177 in style. The original charter event of Ring 177 was held at Bangalore on 27th September 1964 by Prof. SK Vasantha Kumar and friends, in the august company of Benjamin Kleinman.  

This event was designed as a meet and greet, with no specific agendas, no meetings, and no interviews. We had about a dozen members (both past and present) joining us to commemorate our Ring anniversary in a most magical way.

A screen grab of the Online Event held to Commemorate the Ring Anniversary

The magicians that attended this wonderful event included,  Leons George, Saurav Mohanty, Dr BLN Raju, Nakul Shenoy, Magic Balu, Amazing David, Soumyabrata Banerjee, Sridhar Parthasarathy, and Karun Krishna. 

What followed was 90 minutes of unchartered fun, and featured loads of magical performances, trick exchanges, and performance ideas. The camaraderie was contagious, and this is what makes our Ring so great at heart. 

We are now looking forward to our monthly meeting on October 11th at 10:30AM. We look forward to seeing you there!

Ring 177 celebrates 56th anniversary with Online Magic Fiesta

This September, Ring 177 commemorates the 56th anniversary of the founding of the Bangalore Ring in 1964 by Prof S K Vasantha Kumar and friends. To celebrate this, on 13th September, we hosted a one-day Magic Fiesta online event which attracted 45 registrants from all across India and other parts of the world. We are most thankful to the technology powered by Zoom that enabled us to dream and host such a unique event, online!

From 9:30AM to 6:30PM, a bunch of magicians were glued to their screens and participating in lecture demos, performances, interactions, and of course, teach-in sessions. We also received good wishes from magician friends at Ring 2100, and of course the TVP India, Solyl Kundu. During the long day of proceedings, we also had a quick members-only business session, unanimously adopting some amendments to the Ring By-Laws. The most important of these was that the IBM Ring 177 would henceforth be known as “The Bangalore Ring” to best-represent its modern, global nature. 

The day began with a brief welcome and agenda-setting session by our Secretary, Nakul Shenoy. He explained the reasons we were hosting this event online, and also briefed us about the rich 56 year history of our Ring — the third oldest (and the oldest active) Ring in India. Then Shameer Salim, one of our newest members, joined in from North Carolina and over the next hour gave us a detailed demonstration of some of the most awesome magic apps that he has created, including H**ra – an app that will release later this year.

Just after we had seen the magical possibilities the latest technologies could provide us, we had our minds blown by a series of performances by our members and special guests. The first trick session began with Anandan Kumaran from Chennai showing the mystery of the jumping toothpicks. Then it was the turn of the “iTwins” to take centerstage. Armed with just a set of gaming cards, 11-year-old Ishaan Shenoy transported us to the land and times of Sherlock Holmes, while his twin Inesh Shenoy followed him with a classic rendition of the cups and balls. That their first real performance was for magician friends from around the world was not lost on the iTwins, especially since the one and only Shankar Junior was among their audience!

Amazing David from Kolkata took to the screen next, sharing the wonderful work he has put in creating a home-studio for his online performances. David has recently got a lot of good ink among the most important newspapers in the country, and he held nothing back and shared every single tool and arrangement and nuance he has undertaken to create a simple but highly effective online performing arena — inside his house! It was clear to everybody present that David bared his heart and soul to us, and shared every single detail and the lecture was by far the highlight of the day!

First Row – L to R: Amazing David, Nakul Shenoy, Rakesh Syam; Second Row – L to R: Master Ishaan Shenoy, Shameer Salim, Master Inesh Shenoy; Third Row – L to R: Raja Moorthy R, Anandan Kumaran, Shankar Junior.

David’s practical “lessons learnt” session was followed by Anandan Kumaran, a former Microsoft, tech geek, who spent the next hour showing us advanced features and functions in Zoom and OBS and how they could be used for online magic shows. While most of the features were advanced and looked difficult, Kumaran tried his best to dumb it down and demystify them, so that we could use it to our advantage. Best of all, his session ended with an open offer from him to help the other members with their technical set-ups at any point that they needed. More than anything, this kind offer was welcomed with enthusiasm by all the attendees. 

A quick lunch break followed, during which time, a few recorded teach-in videos were played, as kindly received from Kakinada Sreenivas – a prolific creator and innovator of magic tricks. 

The group reconvened at 2PM with Rakesh Syam taking the screen, to perform a most impossible effect. He had Shankar junior (who had logged in from Udupi) shuffle his deck of cards, think of a card, and then return the card to the pack, and mix it up in a haphazard way. Shankar was asked to spread the cards on the table in front of him. All this while Rakesh was not just at his house in Bangalore, but also looking away from the screen. Rakesh then turned to look at the cards and miraculously divulged the card Shankar was thinking about! This brought a lot of OOHS and AAHS from the audience who were shocked beyond comprehension. If that was not enough, Rakesh then spent the next 30 minutes explaining ever nuance and handling of this most impossible effect to all of us. Wow! This is an effect we will be looking for an opportunity to perform — for it is a miracle in any scenario.  

Now it was the turn of The Mind Reader, Nakul Shenoy to demonstrate and teach some advanced handlings of the PAT**, and the most effective way of using that in conjunction with the Magician’s Choice principle. First up, Nakul performed a prediction with all the people logged in to the meeting via Zoom. After a series of free selections and clear eliminations, only one person was left selected on the screen — and that mysteriously matched the prediction card that hung behind Nakul all the time! Then he followed this up with an effect with 10 miniature collectibles, where the one car that was finally selected by the audience, turned out to have a pair that was found hidden in a small box! All these effects were explained in detail by Nakul and the advanced handlings demonstrated in full. This is again an effect that the members felt could be performed anywhere, especially online — given the current scenario. 

It was now time for the second trick session of the day. Our newest member Soumyabrata Banerjee performed his take on the travelling holes with a playing card. His presentation of “Atmanirbhar” (self-reliance) was both entertaining and topical. Abhilash Purohit performed an interesting effect with envelopes, where the envelope chosen by the spectator turned out to have a letter addressed to him, while the rest of the envelopes were found to be empty. 

Shankar Junior followed this with his take on the mis-made card prediction. This was a beautiful effect where many pieces of post cards were mixed together and only four of these chosen at the end to make a card. This turned out to be not as perfect as one of the four pieces was from another postcard. All hell broke loose when the prediction was opened, for it was a mis-made postcard that matched the result perfectly! 

This was followed by Balu The Magician who performed his variation of the coin matrix with four different coloured chips. And just when we thought the trick session was over, Inesh of the iTwins returned to perform his take on the classic card effect, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”. These 11-year-olds reminded us that magic may indeed be in good hands with our future generations, especially if they stick to the classics and bolster that with their storytelling. 

Shankar Junior took the screen for his magic teach-in. Despite the expectations being very high, Shankar delivered and with much ease. The effects he performed and taught were both effective and mind-blowing. Best of all, given the current circumstances where most of us are locked in in our homes, these effects could be performed easily via the internet and that was appreciated hugely. 

The last session of the day was Raja Moorthy from Trivandrum, who conducted a magic teach-in with his usual aplomb. The effects he performed and taught were direct, shell-shocking, and once learnt — easy to do after due attention to the concepts taught. This was a session worth waiting for, and the perfect was to end a day-long online conference of magic, a first time for most of us. 

Before we called it a day, we had an open discussion on a variety of topics, from how to improve the Rings’ outreach and activities, to improving the membership further. With nearly 10 new members added in the last couple of months, Ring 177 is excited to be one of the fast growing rings. Some of the other members and magicians who joined the session through the day, included Anand Omanakuttan, Clifford N Parekh, Dr BLN Raju, Karthik Rao, Leons George, Nanda Kumar Kalathil, Shridhar Parthasarathy, Subramanian, and Venu Vinjamoori. 

What was most amazing is we all went through nearly nine-hours of online interactions, and with sufficient time for performances and interactions, this really felt like we were in a real convention! Given the circumstances, this was the closest we could come to being in a room together – and this was highly appreciated by all the attendees.

We already look forward to our next meeting, and more fun, interactions, and of course, MAGIC with our members. Stay well, stay safe. 

PS: As always, all members of Ring 177 can access the recordings of all these performances and lecture demonstrations in the Members Area. Enjoy!