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Friday, February 18, 2005

the indian rope trick

We knew it all along; the West is realizing it now. There have been innumerable stories and movies on ‘How the West was won?’ Till today, the role of India was never acknowledged but, it has now been said that ‘the Indian rope trick’ was nothing but a figment of imagination of some scribe who wanted to dish out exotic fare to keep his flock intact. Flock, in this context, meant the dedicated group of subscribers to his newspaper who paid to read such writings, apart from the exploits of travelers who were always on the lookout for new horizons to conquer. So, the scribe invented this story and gave credit to India for being known as the land of the rope tricks!
It is gathered that the Rope trick involves mumbling some silent prayers, throwing up a length of rope heavenwards till it becomes taut, climbing it and then vanishing into thin air. Fakirs, it is rumored, were experts in performing this. They would set up shop at street corners and the crowds would go ga-ga over their actions. The assistants of the fakirs would collect coins from the assembled patrons who would, then, go their ways. No one would wait to see if the fakir returned to earth because no one knew how long he would remain in suspended animation! These rope-trickwallas used to be huge draws in fairs and carnivals. Until, magicians descended on the scene to drive around the city with eyes blindfolded or make a complete train vanish in front your eyes.

Indians are adept in not just rope tricks but in any type of hoodwinking.

If you want proof, just look around you – you will discover Bureaucrats and Ministers who, as per Income Tax statements filed with the IT department, claim to be running their families on the really meager salary and perquisites made available to them by the Government. Ask them about their gold and silver assets, posh bungalows, farm houses, holiday resorts and they stare back at you with wide open eyes as if to say - ‘you mean to say I own all that?’ Or, they grin and reply – ‘I have no idea what you are talking about.’ Or, they signal to the pehalwan standing behind them and walk away leaving it to him to handle the sensitive issue in a suitable way. Unknown to you, you become a marked man – or woman!

Indians invented the zero, Indians knew all about aero planes long before the Wright brothers even thought about it, Indians gave to the World the culture of Rope tricks. What do we give next?

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