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A Khalsa, a Keertani, an Engineer and a Magician too!!

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    By: Sukhwinder Singh

    A Khalsa, a Keertani, an Engineer and a Magician too!!

    Ever since we three friends embarked on making animated movies on Sikh History for me it has meant long periods away from home promoting these productions. During these numerous tours in North America and UK I was privileged to meet many Gursikhs who have left an indelible mark on my mind.

    One young Khalsa whom I met in San Jose in October-06 has amazed me. Vikram Singh is a 16 year old amritdhari gursikh who apart from his dexterity in tabla & keertan can mesmerize you equally as a magician too!!

    Vikram Singh born in El Sobrante, California, is son of Bhai Manmohan Singh ji a very respectable gursikh in the Bay Area Sangat. Having born and bred in gursikhi environment Vikram Singh does kirtan and is an excellent tabla player. He has done tabla sewa in various kirtan smagams in California and won prizes in kirtan competitions as tabla player with kirtani jatha from San Jose.

    Vikram Singh doing Tabla sewa at Stockton Kirtan Competition.

    I had an opportunity to watch Vikram Singh perform few amazing magic tricks at his home. “My parents knew an American sikh couple, Satkirtan Singh and Satkirtan Kaur. Satkirtan Kaur sometimes plays violin with my dad at keertan programs. One day Satkirtan Singh performed a magic trick for me and on my insistence he taught me that trick. Having watched my enthusiasm he presented me a children’s magic set on my birthday. This got me started but after a while I stopped doing those tricks as those were for kids. Then I saw David Blaine’s TV special and it re-sparked my interest. From then on I started learning more and more tricks.” explained Vikram Singh when asked how it all started.

    Fremont Gurudwara Sahib: At his sister’ marriage.

    Vikram Singh learned most of what he performs either through books, videos, or online. A couple of tricks learned from a teacher at his school, who is a professional magician, have added to his repertoire of amazing tricks.

    Astonished as Vikram Singh pulled out magic after magic for me, I asked him if he ever did public performances. “I am getting popular with every passing day” smiled Vikram Singh. “I was invited to do magic show at kids camp in July at Fremont Gurdwara Sahib. I did a show at Boy Scouts of America event and performed magic at a talent show in junior high school. People call me to perform at birthday parties and other occasions. Performing for friends at school is an every day feature.”

    At Fremont Kids Camp July-06.

    Performing Card Tricks at Fremont Kids Camp July-06

    How do people react?” I asked, failing miserably to hide my amazement.

    “Many kids react by saying ‘wow!’ But the most common reaction is “How did you do that?”

    “What the ****!!” is also very common.”

    “A lot of spectators get perturbed when they can’t figure out how something impossible happened. I’ve also had people laugh hysterically or yell. The other most common thing that people say, especially kids, is “do it again!”

    I’ve also noticed that having the ability to do something seemingly impossible gains me recognition and respect. A lot of people are often skeptical at the beginning of the trick, and I love to see the look on their faces when I’m finished. Some seem so confidant that they know what I’m doing, but I usually disprove their theories. Sometimes they claim they know how I did it, but when asked none could perform the trick. Performing magic helps me make friends and build my character as well.”

    “How you take it from Gurmat perspective?”
    “Some people mention me that performing magic is anti-gurmat. But this is not the kind of magic (karamaat) that Gurubani forbids. It is a known truth that magic tricks I perform are nothing more than an art. Anybody who has some patience can learn to do these tricks. Moreover these tricks are for fun only, it does no harm to anybody.”

    Despite all his interests in Kirtan, Tabla and Magic, Vikram does equally well in his academics as well. At the end of 10th grade he took a proficiency test and got a certificate equivalent to a high school diploma. Now he goes to the local Community college, Gavilan and is majoring in Electrical Engineering. Vikram Singh plans to transfer to University of California in 2 years to complete his degree.

    It was a Saturday evening and Vikram Singh had to get ready for tabla sewa at the kirtan program in their home. During an enthralling afternoon I didn’t realize when Sun passed over the Bay Area and was about to set in the Pacific Ocean as it turned into a resplendent red ball. Gurjeet Singh reminded about our next days engagements and Los Angeles was still 6-7 hours drive away.

    Three months later as I write this line Vikram Singh Khalsa has his website being officially released on Saturday, 6-Jan-07.

    Meanwhile you can view his video at

    (Sukhwinder Singh is Promoter Director of Vismaad: an IT Solutions Company based in Singapore & India. Vismaad has distinction of producing first animated movies on Sikh History: “Sahibzadey” and “The Rise of Khalsa”)
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