Jefe's House

A Magical Child

by on Feb.07, 2015, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe

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A Shaheb’s Guide to India

shaheb – (India; also saheb, sahib; from the Hindi and Urdu sāhab, master; from Arabic ṣāḥib, companion; participle of ṣaḥiba, to become friends) 
1. formerly, a term of respect for any  male landowner
2. formerly, a term of respect for white European men during the British colonial era
3. (modern) any white man
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A talented young street magician I shot in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India after she approached us shouting “Magic? Magic?”  My 3-year-old son has recently discovered magic so we gave her the nod. She dropped to the ground, emptied the contents of her bag and went to town. Soon a small crowd formed to watch.  My son’s mind was blown, especially when she made money disappear from my wife’s hand and come out of my son’s ear and nose.  I am extremely envious of her sleight of hand skills.  Apologies for the wind noise.

 

I realize there is perhaps, potentially, a darker side to this, like where are her parents? I didn’t see them, but I didn’t see a Fagin lurking about either. She could be homeless, living in an orphanage, or for that matter from a perfectly stable home life and doing nothing different than a kid here running a lemonade stand. In India you can never be sure, but there are indeed lots of poor and homeless kids running around hawking souvenirs or begging for a few rupees. This was the first time I had encountered a child street performer.

You’ll see there’s a moment where she messes up and giggles with her two friends watching her in the audience. Afterward I tipped her generously and she ran away smiling. Ten minutes later we passed her way again and she was sitting in the grass talking with her two friends. When she saw us coming she smiled, hopped up and came running over with her hand out–not to ask for more money but to ask, “Please may I touch him?” regarding my 3-year-old son. He’s very sociable and he had no problem with this request. She touched his hair and squeezed his cheek and ran smiling back to her friends.

 

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