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Chapter 18: The Mystic Rose

The magician would go on bringing bigger and bigger balls.. It was a trick - but how were they managing it? And they would throw those big balls, almost the size of a football - they would throw them in the air and they would fall and create such a big dent in the earth. They would tell people, “You can try” - and people would try, but they were so heavy that it was difficult to pick them up. And they all have come - a dozen or more, all around - from the belly of the magician.

He would show, half naked, the upper part of his body naked - he would show that the ball was moving upwards. You could see that the ball was moving upwards, that it was stuck in his throat, and you could see and you could go and touch and feel that the ball was inside. Then, with great difficulty, he would bring it into his mouth and he would cry, tears coming, and ask people to take it out somehow, because he is not able. It would destroy all his teeth so help him - and the miracle was that as they were taking it out, the ball was becoming bigger. By the time it was completely out, it was so big that that man’s belly could not contain even a single ball, to say nothing of one dozen balls.

But all these magicians were Mohammedans: it was not a very creditable job. These were street people. Because of the division of Pakistan, all those Mohammedan magicians have moved to Pakistan. They were coming from faraway Pakhtunistan, Afghanistan. But now the roads are closed. Now you don’t see the magicians anywhere.

Otherwise it was almost an everyday affair - in this marketplace, in that street, near the school.anywhere where they thought they could gather a crowd.

With my own eyes I have seen something, and I sometimes wonder whether have seen it or I have dreamed it. I have not dreamed for thirty-five years, but this thing is such that it is absolutely unbelievable that it really happened..

A magician came to our school. The school was a very big school, with almost one thousand students and nearabout fifty teachers. Even the principal of the school, who was a postgraduate in science, first rejected the man: “We don’t want any nonsense here.”

But I had seen that man doing impossible things, and I told him, “Wait!” I went into the principal’s office and said, “You are missing a tremendous opportunity. You are a scientist. I know this man; I have seen him performing things. I can ask him to do the best that he can. And what is the harm? After school time, those who want to see can stay.” And those magicians were so poor that if you could give them five rupees, it was too much.

I told the magician that I had convinced the principal, he was ready to allow it after school - “but you have to do the greatest trick that you know. On your behalf I have promised - and he is a man with a scientific mind, so be careful. There will be fifty graduates, postgraduates, so you have to be very alert. You should not be caught, because it is also a question of my prestige.”

He said, “My boy, don’t be worried!”

And he did something so that my principal called me and said, “You should not associate with such people. It is dangerous.”

I said, “Have you any idea what he did?”

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