When He Found His Magic

13 December 2022
4 mins read

“I’m 7 feet tall, weigh over 250 kilos. I’m physically and socially so awkward that even my parents are embarrassed to be seen with me. They won’t let me attend any family functions. Today, my mother told me not to come to my brother’s engagement too. Why was I born like this?” Tears welled up as Gagan looked helplessly at his Dai Ma.

He looked miserable, sitting at the edge of the four-poster bed. Dai Ma walked up to him and wiped his tears with the end of her saree pallu.

“At the risk of sounding like a broken tape, I will keep repeating this, my dear child. You are meant for great things. The time to show yourself to the world is yet to come. When it does, magic will happen.”

“Oh please, Dai Ma. I’m tired of listening to your empty promise of magic. I’m just a 20-year-old awkward boy of gargantuan proportions meant to lead a sad, lonely life. Is it true that my parents tell everyone I’m not right in the head? Is that why people look at me strangely wherever I go?”

Dai Ma just held him close.

“As if my physical awkwardness is not enough to put off people. Why add crazy to it? Forget magic even love doesn’t exist!”

“You have magic in your genes, my dear. Remember the time you staved off that bully when you were just 5 years old?”

Gagan smiled at the memory. “How can I forget the day you came into my life? My parents were happy to hand me over to you when you offered to be my governess. No? Not that I’m complaining. You’re the only one who loves me unconditionally.”

It was Dai Ma’s turn to smile.

Gagan continued. “And that was you, not me. The bully became motionless with fear when you suddenly appeared behind me.”

“I just stood, baba. Your stare made him motionless.”

“Please!”

“Ok. What about talking to birds and animals?”

“You taught me to read their body language and the sounds they make. I can’t hear them talk. I only understand what they are implying.”

“Oh! You stubborn boy! If you refuse to accept yourself for who you are, magic will remain outside your heart even if it is in your mind.”

I wonder when he will realise the truth. I hope it’s soon enough. There are others I need to find and gather around.

“Let’s forget it.  We need to go to the bank to sign off some documents.”

“Oh! I hate that claustrophobic place. I can’t handle weirdness so soon after my mother’s insulting restraint. Can’t they send the documents home?”

“No! Some sensitive papers regarding the gaming business which is doing very well, thanks to your brilliant coding skills.”

One of the drivers drove them to the bank.

In the car, Dai Ma persisted,  “By the way, isn’t it magical that you can write hundreds of lines of perfect code for a variety of hot-selling games, all of which sell like hotcakes? Who taught you that?”

“I taught myself that and many other things from the internet and books. No school here wanted me. So I taught myself everything with a lot of guidance from you.”

“One look at something, and the code simply pops into your head! Isn’t that magic?” She tried again.

“My brain is simply configured for such things. It’s NOT magic. Just common sense, and a bit of hard work.”

“My child, there are things way beyond your understanding! You’ll know when you should.”

As they entered the bank, everyone gawked at Gagan as usual. Unmindful of the stares, they walked into the manager’s room who smiled uncertainly and wordlessly placed some forms on the table.

Oh, God! So huge, bald, and crazy too! God, let him not have a showdown here.

Gagan just kept signing, his face focused on the papers, avoiding everyone’s stare and ignoring his own discomfort.

Suddenly, they heard a commotion in the banking hall. In the blink of an eye, four hooded men brandishing rifles, charged in and closed the main shutters.

“This is a hold-up. Don’t try anything stupid. Just put all the cash into this bag quietly and no one will get hurt.” The leader shouted, his beady eyes on the teller supervisor.

One of the gun-wielding men were forcing everyone to one corner of the banking hall. Fearful shrieks and cries filled the air. The other two men were reconnoitering the place, ensuring no one was hiding or trying to escape. Everything was happening in a jiffy! They passed the manager’s room. It was empty.

Dai Ma was smiling. She was watching Gagan. His face had stiffened into a trance. And so was the manager, frozen and staring into nothingness.

It was finally happening! Unwittingly, Gagan’s inherent magical powers came to the fore in response to dire straits! He had made them invisible. 

Unseen by anyone, she pressed the alarm beneath the manager’s desk. Help arrived within minutes and the attempted heist was aborted easily.

Some witnesses had a strange tale to tell. “One instant there were three people in the manager’s room, and the next instant there was none! It was like magic.”

It was easy to convince everyone that the three of them had ducked beneath the desk. No one questioned how a 7-footer could’ve hidden in a small room.

All’s well that ends well.

******************

Yes, magic exists! He had learnt from the best witches and wizards in Mayong, an ancient, quaint village in modern-day Assam, on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra.

He was Ghatotkach, the Mayavi son of Hidimba and Bhim. He was reborn many times, and every time Ashwatthama helped him recall his inherent magical powers. Ashwatthama, the one cursed to walk the earth for eternity for cowardly slaying the sons of Pandavas in their sleep in the Kurukshetra War. This time, Ahwattama came in the guise of Dai Ma.

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Ratna Prabha

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