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A pictorial saga of the amazing “Harry Houdini Escape” act demonstrated by Ukrainian escape artist Katherine.

.Providence made me attend the Worli Festival-2013 held at Worli sea-face as my “Scuba/Snorkeling 3 day trip” to Sindhudurg Fort in Malvan had been cancelled .Cycled my way along the sea-face at approx 1800 hrs and was surprised at the face-lift given to this beautiful sea-facing promenade of Mumbai. This was the first day of the 3-Day Worli Festival , the second year that this festival has been organized in Mumbai. There were 3 stages located at various parts of the long Worli sea-face promenade, each stage having a different entertainment programme.After viewing the stalls and the stage programmes was casually walking along the promenade when i stumbled across a young western girl asking for a volunteer to perform her magic.This was a typical street act ,the types commonly seen on the pavements of the Champs Elysee in Paris or the Thames Riverfront embankment in London, to name two of the world’s Capital city’s famous for “STREET PLAYS “. She called me to the centre of the sea-face promenade , a huge crowd surrounding us, eagerly awaiting the “Houdini Straight Jacket Escape Act”.She told me to wear a tight jacket that she provided while her assistant help got her hands tied. She then told me to check that her hands and chest were properly tied which i did in front of a gaping audience.She then put a pyramid covering over both of us, hiding us from the audience, akin to being in a enclosed capsule. I was standing in front of her while she was behind me, both of us covered in a claustrophobic wigwam style tent.She told me to take off my jacket which i managed to wriggle from,eagerly awaiting the final act. I could hear some talk between her and her assistant help and could feel some hand movements.Within a few minutes the claustrophobic wigwam tent was dropped and out emerged Katherine wearing my jacket tightly tied onto her chest.The audience starred in disbelief while i was stunned to wonder what had actually taken place, magic or sleight of hand!The closest i came to meeting a magician was when i shook hands with India’s foremost magician Mr P.C.Sorcar junior after completion of his magic show at the City hall in Bangalore in the late 1990’s.I happened to be in Bangalore when P.C.Sorcar demonstrated one of his famous magic shows, “The eternal water of India” at the City hall,the water in the bucket never ever getting empty!Have read the biography of the most famous escape artist magician Harry.Houdini and hence was amazed to have witnessed young Katherine perform this type of escape act , fooling me and the entire audience.HOW DID SHE DO IT ?.Remember, this was an ordinary street act and not performed in a auditorium or under specific stage conditions as do all magicians.It was a “Katherine Straight jacket exchange act” done on the spur of the moment in front of a live audience and not a video recording.I clicked a photograph of her wearing my jacket and later untied her hands and chest.What perplexed my thinking was the swiftness in which the entire”Sleight of Hand” jacket exchange was enacted by Katherine and her assistant.I returned home a wiser man, realizing that sleight of hand tricks can be used anywhere by a skilled person, most common being the famous “Pickpockets” and “Chain snatchers” of Mumbai.A talent can be used in a good as well as a bad way in society. Congratulations to Katherine of Ukraine for demystifying magic and proving that it is nothing but skilled sleight of hand by a trained and talented artist.

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