A magic trick

Published: April 5, 2014

He folded his hand and pointed his index finger towards me, and said that with his great magic power he is going to make his index finger as soft as cotton. I could not contain my excitement.

It was the second day of Eidul Fitr. My khala was visiting us with her husband and three kids; two boys (15-year-old and 13-year-old) and a 10-year-old girl. I, on the other hand, was five-years-old at that time.

These are the characters that are directly and indirectly related to the ultimate magic trick.

I remember all of them and all of us sitting near a gas heater, bonding away like families do over such occasions. My mother, with my three-year-old sister sleeping in her lap, and my khala were discussing family issues, while my father was convincing my khalu to join him in his business and how much more a business can offer these days as compared to a nine to five job.

My khala’s daughter was sitting quietly in a corner. Her eldest son was sitting with me while the younger one went to explore the Eid festivities going on outside. As we were all enjoying the chilly evening weather, the doorbell rang and my phupho along with her husband came to pay us the traditional Eid visit.

With the crowd increasing, everyone decided to depart towards the living room; the men started off with their ‘men talk’ and the women with their regular chit chat.

My mother, after placing my sister in bed, went into the kitchen to fix some tea and snacks. My cousin and I were the only ones left in the room. After a few minutes of awkward silence, he told me that he is a magician and knows how to do some great magic tricks. I, like a charmed child, got excited by the mere sound of the word ‘magic’.

He told me that he possesses power over material objects and has the ability to transform soft objects into hard form and vice versa. I was a curious child and the thought of witnessing a magical transformation amazed me.

He folded his hand and pointed his index finger towards me, and said that with his great magic power he is going to make his index finger as soft as cotton. I could not contain my excitement. He got up, closed the door and turned off the light. I tried to run away but he grabbed me. I told him to switch the lights back on because I was scared of the dark. He gave me a warm smile and explained that his magic trick will only work in the dark. With the conviction of his words, I agreed to stay, but only if he would hurry up with his magic trick.

The room was dark and the only vibrant green light was glowing out of my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle watch. I was anxious and wanted him to start the magic trick. He made me lie down on the couch besides him under a blanket and asked me to hold his finger and close my eyes. I simply followed. He then asked me to feel the finger and I did as I was told. I told him that it was still hard and bony. He asked me to keep my eyes tightly shut as the magic trick was about to start.

A fear crept up in my heart as quickly as it vanished.

I could feel something very soft in my hands. I told him, with a tint of excitement in my voice, that the magic trick was working. He asked me to hold the soft finger tightly and feel it from every angle to make sure that every part of it was soft. I grabbed his soft finger in both hands and felt it from top to bottom and made sure that he is not lying.

He really was a magician, I thought, he did actually transform his hard bony finger into a soft boneless finger.

Soon after, I got bored and told him I wanted to leave. He stopped me and asked me to wait for the second part of the trick, where he will magically convert his soft finger back to its hard form. By this point, I was bored because I was only allowed to touch the soft finger and not see it. I didn’t want to be there for the second part but because he was being really polite, I decided to stay.

I was told to hold his soft finger for four to five minutes and then suddenly, I could feel his soft finger turning hard in my hands. I was lost in wonder and excitement. My young heart could not fathom how he managed to do it. The magic trick really worked, I thought in excitement.

I smiled at bhai jan, thanked him for generously showing me his magic trick and for choosing me from amongst all the other kids around to witness the trick.

Ambreen Sheikh

Ambreen Sheikh

A Software Engineer who works at Ericsson. She focuses on the development of women leadership in the world of technology. She tweets @anbreensh (twitter.com/anbreensh)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Khurram

    Very crappy story with no lesson at all. Recommend

  • Sajjad

    Lady…I’m speechless..well written..and the use of the phrase bhai jan really put the fear of God back into my heart..Recommend

  • Unkown

    PG 18Recommend

  • Saim

    Seriously what was the point? bad writing!Recommend

  • Fahad Hafeez

    Beautifully written, showing the innocence of a child.Recommend

  • SaveOurSmiles

    Very well written.
    Taking advantage of a kid’s innocence is a criminal offence. Parents must keep an eye on their kids and also educate them about protection of their body, by telling them the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch. Most of the parents tell their children not to trust strangers, but the fact is that 90% of the cases of child abuse involve someone whom the child knows or even loves. So children must be taught that nobody has the right to touch them in a way that gives them the ‘icky’ feeling or force them to touch their private parts. And when we say ‘nobody’ it includes elder siblings, cousins, uncles, maids and babysitters too.Recommend

  • aisi

    I dont know where are we moving….
    How can people’s character can be so shameless

  • Xyed Baqir Husain

    Exceptional piece of work!!!

    Hats Off!!!Recommend

  • AM

    A little part of my heart just died, reading this.
    @Khurram I guess you really didn’t understand the traumatic story there. It is full of lessonsRecommend

  • Crusador

    That is like a sexual molestation story!!!Recommend

  • Nida

    The lesson is, to curb dirty desires. Recommend

  • Sonia K

    Wow…. many kids have these growing experiences…. Recommend

  • Rizwan
  • Farya

    Very well written. The innocence of the child and the cunning of men which makes them lure and take advantage of the naive and vulnerable is very nicely depicted.Recommend

  • Umar Farooq

    How you know that soft thing was his finger because your eyes were close. It may be something else?Recommend

  • Umar Farooq

    Good jokeRecommend

  • Umar Farooq

    I’m confused. Recommend

  • Necromancer

    You should really discuss this with your parents…….This is disturbing.Recommend

  • Sajjad

    I think it’s a little late for that…the author mentions she was in fact 5 years old at the time..(if indeed it was her in the story, and not just a character of imagination; the title does read Poetic License..y’know)..Recommend

  • Nobody

    Did you really not understand the point?Recommend

  • Umar Farooq

    what is the point?Recommend

  • Syed Ali Uzair

    you are grown up, strong and have a valid reason to slap him (today/day after tomorrow/whenever you feel like).Recommend

  • Lalit

    thanks for enlightening us….Recommend

  • 12homesus

    Cleverly written article. Awesome work and great information. keep the good work going.Recommend