TAMIL NADU

With a `basket of surprises' to puzzle everyone

Aarthi Mangala has won several awards in recognition of her magical talents

M. Balaganessin

TIRUCHI: She just moves the right hand to and fro in all ease, holding a basket in the left. All of a sudden, a rose flower appears in her right hand, which she gently drops into the basket. Even as the popular number `Chinna chinna aasai' is played on, she picks up more than a dozen flowers within ten seconds.

The audience, comprising both the parents and the children, go spellbound wondering over several questions particularly from where she gets the flowers.

There is yet another surprise in store for the onlookers: All the flowers, got one after another, are neatly tied into a garland. When she took the garland out of the basket, the audience remain further puzzled.

There can be no better entertainment for children than a magic show. But the one at the Community Centre of the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) on Children's Day provided not only entertainment, but also helped to bring out the talent of a little girl, J.M. Aarthi Mangala. It is hard to believe that the performer is a student of Standard VIII of Maharishi Vidhya Mandir, Thanjavur.

Rightly, Aarthi Mangala has won several awards in recognition of her talent.

She is a recipient of the `National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement in the File of Magic and Music' instituted by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development. She received the award exactly a year ago - on November 14, 2004 and was conferred on her for creating social awareness by using her talent for releasing an audio CD on `Aathi Choodi' and `Kondrai Vendhan'. The CDs were released on the occasion of the International Conference on Avvai in May 2003.She says that every performing artiste has to undergo a severe practice to develop his/her talent. She has been practising the art of magic right from her childhood.

Aarthi Mangala says she has been using her talent for creating awareness on national integration, secularism, humaneness, non-violence and has been striving for social reforms.

Study on nutrition level of child labourers

Accompanied by a schoolmate Vinodh, she has conducted a study on `Nutrition level of child labourers' at a special school in Tiruchi and submitted her report at the `National Chuildren's Science Congress' held on November 17, 2002.

She has been contributing articles to journals, giving tips on simple magic tricks.

A member of the `International Brotherhood of Magicians', St. Louis, United States, and the Indian magic Hobby Association, her aim is to promote the talents of the children. She often invites a couple of children to the dais to physically verify the articles she uses before converting them to an entirely different thing. Thus a metallic rod is converted into a piece of colourful cloth, while a white coir turns into a metallic rod.

At the Community Centre, children vied with one another that they were anxiously awaiting her call. The venue was so jam-packed that security personnel had to be pressed into service to regulate the crowd and ensure smooth conduct of the show. She conducted a special show at the venue exclusively for the school children.

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