Imagine being able to tell what someone is thinking just by looking at him. Or being able to drive in a busy street in Kathmandu and reach your destination blindfolded. You might say it’s impossible but magician Sujan Mainali will prove you wrong.
Mainali, popularly known by as Mayavi Suraj, has been performing these tricks for the last ten years at both national and international arenas. The contemporary illusionist is the first Nepali professional magician who holds a Guinness World Record for sharing the stage with the maximum numbers of magicians at a time. However, since he had to battle with drug addiction, Mainali never thought he would be able to stand in front of a crowd and play with their senses. “I was headed down a wrong path. But magic pulled me out of it and gave my life new meaning,” he says.
Mainali’s journey started when he met a magician in his neighborhood. Regular meetings with this magician made him want to learn some tricks. It was during this time that he also came across some DVDs of great magicians of the world. He says that he became even more curious to know how those illusions were executed so flawlessly. And it was this curiosity that paved a path for him to become a professional magician.
But it wasn’t an easy decision for him. “My parents wanted me to do better in school and become a high-level officer. But I wasn’t a very good student and I had my own dreams as well. I had different kinds of jobs at different times but wasn’t satisfied with anything. With magic, things changed. It just felt like something I wanted to pursue,” he says.
However, due to lack of proper platforms and official institutions, it was hard for him to flourish in this profession. He was often mocked for taking up a profession that wasn’t credible. But that didn’t deter Mainali and he taught himself from the internet and practiced magic tricks for hours.
Initially, he performed at birthday parties and school events. Later on he was approached to perform at corporate events of different organizations and embassies. He says he will never forget performing for the then royal family and then being called back for another performance. Today, despite doing a lot of commercial shows, he also hosts charity shows for children and provides magic workshops to prisoners.
“Magic diverts people’s minds from their problems. They forget what’s bothering them, albeit momentarily and just enjoy the tricks. So I visit cancer wards at different hospitals and also go to prisons to perform magic tricks to cheer them up,” he shares.
Besides that, he is also working to promote magic as a profession in Nepal. He wants to establish an institute where people can learn magic tricks and work on taking up magic as their careers. That, he says, is his ultimate goal.
“In Nepal, it’s rare to see professional magicians performing live. Even those who want to become magicians don’t know how to pursue it. There’s a dire need for an institute that teaches magic in our country. I want to bridge that gap,” he concludes.