- Magician Raj Kumar has been performing at shelter homes since the lockdown
- He talks about hand hygiene and social distancing during his show
- He is trying to keep stranded migrant labourers motivated through his art
New Delhi: 57-year-old Magician Raj Kumar, an internationally acclaimed Illusionist who started Delhi School of Magic 1995 is playing ‘corona warrior’ for homeless people and many migrant workers who are stranded in Delhi due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. Every day Mr. Kumar visits several shelter homes from morning to evening and through his magic show helps those impacted most by the lockdown temporarily forget their problems.
While talking to NDTV about what motivated him to put himself at risk and be out for 6-8 hours to entertain and motivate the occupants of shelter homes, Mr. Kumar said,
In the 1980s when I was struggling as a young magician, I spent many days and nights on the road. I was struggling for food every day while looking for a job. Back then I did not know what life held in store for me. I may have achieved fame and luxuries today but I can never forget my days of struggle. When the lockdown was imposed in the last week of March, all my shows got cancelled and I just spent time at home watching movies and TV series on Amazon Primes and Netflix. Within 2-3 days we saw that the migrants were trying to leave the city and those who couldn’t leave were given space in shelter homes. I said to myself how they must be feeling being forced to stay at one place, without any job and not fully informed about what was going on. I spoke with my friends in Delhi Police and decided to conduct magic shows for them with two aims- to entertain and to inform them.
Bringing Magic, Motivation And Message To Shelter Homes
According to Mr. Kumar, magic can be enjoyed by people from almost all age groups. He along with his team has developed some acts for the shelter home occupants for motivating them and giving messages to them through magic tricks. He said,
We talk about personal hygiene, social distancing, keeping their mouths covered, washing hands and sanitization, which they learn and even practise. What should they do while coughing and sneezing, or if they develop symptoms. Above all, we caution them against defying the lockdown. As part of my tricks, I magically make masks and sanitisers appear which intrigues children and adults equally and encourages them to use those.
Mr. Kumar conducted his first show in a shelter near his house in Dilshad Gardens and received a warm response. Since then he has been performing at several places, with support from Delhi Police. He performs 5-6 shows every day. Now Mr. Kumar’s day starts at 7 AM when he puts on his masks and gloves and displays the performance of the day at Yamuna Vihar sports complex, which has been turned into a shelter home during the lockdown. After that, he goes back home, have some breakfast, packs his lunch and steps out with a motivation to bring magic to people staying in at least five shelter homes per day. Mr. Kumar said,
I do not charge for these shows. There are healthcare professionals, sanitation workers, police officials, essential service providers and journalists volunteers who are all helping others fight the pandemic. I am contributing my bit in this way. Recently, Delhi Police approached me for starting similar shows at shelter homes in Lajpat Nagar.
In a bid to follow social distancing measures, Mr. Kumar performs the show for smaller groups of occupants in shelters. Rajpal Singh, a 25-year-old plumber said,
I have been here for almost a month and I can’t wait to go back to my family in Punjab. I do not have internet recharge on my phone now and so have nothing to keep me busy or entertained. Watching Raj Kumar Sir’s show has been very refreshing. It was very informative too. Through one of his tricks, in which he converted alcohol, into water, he told us how alcohol can weaken our immune system. It was very nice.
While signing off, Mr. Kumar said that for me, it is most important that people in shelters feel loved and cared for so that they do not lose hope in these times of uncertainties. He also shared that being out for many hours every day, he takes all precautions needed to keep himself and his family safe from the virus, like sanitising his hands and disinfecting frequently touched objects like his car steering wheel, doorknobs and keys.