Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Psychology of Psychological Illusions - Happy Birthday Derren Brown!

A fourteen year old me was shuffling through Youtube videos based on magic by David Blaine when I came across an almost balding well dressed gay guy by the name of Derren Brown. From that moment on, Magic for me got a new meaning, it transformed from being just a passion to more of a sickness (a good sickness at that).
When we see magic, our idea of it is completely different from what it may be. We expect a guy to do some sleight of hand, use fancy equipment and gadgetry to fool and entertain at the same time. That for me and 99% of the world around us is the psychology of magic. But for me that changed from the second I saw Derren Brown perform on that Youtube video. There is so much more to Magic, probably the reason why I don't like to use the word Magic or call myself a Magician because I at some level feel that it degrades what I do or what Derren Brown does.
Derren calls himself a psychological illusionist, and the psychology of psychological illusions is way different from the psychology of just Magic. When a person can predict what you're about to do, what actions you're going to make, or what you think of based on your body language, the way you talk, the way your voice sounds or the way you're standing and looking at something automatically Magic has a new meaning. It becomes way more personal, it becomes way more intriguing and interesting and it becomes way more fascinating all of a sudden. 
From the hundreds of people who I've met who've seen Derren's shows, less than 10% of the people actually want to know about how a trick is done because they are so fascinated and intrigued by the things he does, knowing how it's done just kills the fun. (And I just realized that rhymes)
As the people on my Facebook page and my Twitter followers will know, I recently had the most amazing opportunity of not just meeting Derren Brown after his show, I had the opportunity to live the dream of performing for the great man. (Click here for the video). Meeting him and performing for him and reading the mind reader's mind just made me more firm about the fact that he is the single most awesome performer (not magician, performer of any kind) that has lived in the past two three decades.
Seeing him live is a treat like no other, and all I want to say on this post is a massive shout, and as massive as it gets so that he can hear me all the way in England from here in India, "Happy Birthday Derren, coming across your videos and your performances was, is and always will be the single most greatest thing that has ever happened to me. You're not just an inspiration or an idol, you are way way more than that. If there was a God, I'd worship you."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Me, Myself and Everybody Else.... And Steve Jobs.

"I was very lucky, I found something I loved at a very young age." - Steve Jobs.
Standing ovations. Normal ovations. Random people smiling at you in a market. People wanting to get clicked with you. Updating a Facebook status and getting around 20 likes in 5 minutes no matter what the status may be. All that and much, much more. 2011 was easily one of the best years of my life, and 2012 has already gotten off to an awesome start. Showbiz is every bit as awesome, fun and exciting as it looks from the outside.
Before I start blabbing, the quote I started my blog with is something I can relate to more than anything else in my life. I fell in love with Magic when I was eleven and that love has grown every day, ever hour, every minute and every second. Which brings me to the question which is asked to me at least 10 times a week on average, "How do you pursue your passion and make it into a profession?"
 Before you can follow a passion, it's kind of understood that you need  to look for something that you're a passionate about. I played a lot of instruments when I was young, still play them from time to time, like almost every young kid in India I had a huge passion for cricket and always wanted to become a cricketer. I was fascinated by WWE, and used to wrestle with my cushions hoping to be heavyweight champion one day. Hmm, I was one weird kid. 
I even had an immense love for Harry Potter, intact after the sixth book, I wrote a whole book of my own with a theory on how Dumbledore wasn't dead, complete waste of time when you come to think of it, but fun none the less.
So for people stuck up on the thought that they'll never find their passion, all you need to do is keep trying different things in life.
"If you haven't found what you love yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with matters of the heart, you'll know when you've found it. - Steve Jobs."
But doing something you love brings up one massive problem, with love comes heartbreak. I used to practice 12-14 hours a day, standing in front of mirrors, making videos of myself and performing for anyone who was willing to watch an excited kid with a deck of cards. And the cards did fall onto the ground, not once, not twice, at least a hundred times a day. Reading someone's mind and guessing something which was completely in the opposite direction of what they were thinking used to happen at least 10 times a day. And to be honest, it was the worst feeling ever. With love did indeed come heartbreak.
I started off doing charity events and performing at one year olds birthday parties for free after six years of practicing. However, I was still not good enough to be paid to perform, it's then that I realized you need to keep growing, you need to keep learning. That's when I dwelled into psychology, micro expressions, mind reading, Neuro Linguistic Programming, hypnosis and whole other fields of performances. I kept looking at different areas within my passion for Magic, that helped my passion to grow from Magic to performing in general.
Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, only to come back and make it the twenty second most successful company in the world according to Fortune 500 as we know it today. You will suffer heartbreak, in your work life, in your love life and even with your friends, you've got to keep working towards a better version of yourself, you've to keep working towards a better relationship, you've got to keep working towards following your passion. You've got to stay hungry to learn more, you've got to remain foolish to experiment till you find something you love.
When we grow up, we tend to get told that the world is the way it is, and our job is to live life within that world. Try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, try and have fun and save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader when we realize one simple fact, "Everything around us that we call life was built by someone who was no smatter than you and me. And we change that, we can influence that, we can follow our own passions that become a part of other people's lives."
Once we learn that, we'll never be the same again.
"Stay hungry, stay foolish." - Steve Jobs.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Of Memory, Of Psychology, Of Rubik's Cube... Of Nonsense

So my last two or three blog posts have hinted around the apparent dark thoughts of Gays and the non existence of God and other darker beliefs and behaviors which have lead to a serious increase in people reading my blogs and an even bigger increase in people complaining about the stuff I write. Someone told me, "I don't want my kid to read non-sense like this, take this off now." Someone else said, "Who are you to say God doesn't exist? How can you be an atheist? If you want Gays to be a part of society, you should move to some suburb of Europe." Well, I'm still in Delhi, I still stand by my beliefs and I'm still writing "nonsense" in my blogs.
So if you haven't already switched windows and started Facebooking or set fire to my blog in anger, it's time to read on about some of my apparently fascinating new ideas.
I went for this 9 year old kid's birthday who if I'm correct is my second cousin and he got at least 4 Rubik's cubes as presents. And I thought to myself, why is it that people intend on giving kids something that they'll spend rest of their lives attempting to solve and still not be successful? What sadistic pleasure do we get out of irritating and tormenting people for a majority of their life time?
But apart from burning blogs, irritating kids and not knowing how they're related to me, that day really made me do a bit of research on Rubik's Cubes. Did you know that there are FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN QUINTILLION! Yeah, quintillion possible ways to arrange that little toy, and only one of them is the right way! Who knew there was a special toy to irritate people? But the random no brain guy with too much free time on my hands that I am, I tried to relate it with Magic. And the first thing that came to my head was a deck of cards. There are apparently 8X10 to the power of 67 ways to stack a deck of cards. You do the math. That also means that it's exceedingly improbable that two random cards picked from two truly random decks will ever be the same in the history of cards.
But I also observed that people who have had enough free time to sit and solve a Rubik's cube over and over again in their pointless lives, have relied a lot on memory. And that is one thing I'm kind of good at, so I thought, wouldn't it be cool if I could take a shuffled deck of cards, memorize them (yeah, I've done that a gazillion times), and then shuffle them in a way that they end up in new deck order, and doing all of that without looking at the faces more than once and having them in new deck order in less than two minutes.
So, that's the first time in my life I've built up hype for a trick which I am so far away from perfecting that I'd probably be transforming water into beer before I can actually do it. Oh wait, I've already done that. So for those beautiful and handsome people, and the ugly ones who might feel left out, well in general, people who actually wait to watch my videos, you know what the next one's going to be. If you don't, well you just completely missed the point of the blog din't you?
And that's enough blabber to start of the year. May you all continue to ponder over my blogs throughout the year and may all your Facebook statuses get loads of likes and comments or whatever it is that you want.
Till then, lets all wait for my next video, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...  
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