My name is Vikram Singh, I was born and raised in California, USA and I’m 24 years old. I grew up in the Bay Area, in a very Sikhi oriented environment. Since my dad was a raagi I spent a lot of time in sangat and kirtan, which had a lasting impact on me. When […]
My name is Vikram Singh, I was born and raised in California, USA and I’m 24 years old. I grew up in the Bay Area, in a very Sikhi oriented environment. Since my dad was a raagi I spent a lot of time in sangat and kirtan, which had a lasting impact on me. When I was around 15 or 16 I created my own website and recorded videos of myself doing magic tricks with a webcam, before youtube, facebook, or iphones existed. They were links people could download and I had managed to build a small reputation as a magician among friends. I performed magic throughout school, college and work informally for my friends and professionally for events across the country. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from UC Davis and I’m currently working as a Software Engineer.
What inspired you to get into magic? Where there any particular trick that captured your fascination?
In kindergarten we had a magician visit our classroom. I went up as a volunteer and both the magician and I put a silk in our hands, but her’s disappeared and mine didn’t. The silk disappearing trick really got me. and that day I vowed to learn how to perform this illusion. A few years later I was given a magic set by one of our family friends and since then I’ve been practicing, performing magic, learning and continuously searching for more sources and ideas.
What is it like performing in front of large crowds?
Well, I do still get nervous and have butterflies in my stomach before performing, but I’ve gotten more used to it over time and the nervousness has lessened. Right before starting I’m thinking about how many people are staring at me and I have the fear of messing up. But as soon as I get started and hear the first round of applause or laughter from the audience, it confirms that they’re enjoying my performance and puts me in the zone. Once I’m in that mode I don’t worry about it for the rest of the show because I’m so focused on entertaining and interacting with the audience.
What other interests do you have?
Some of my other interests include doing kirtan/playing musical instruments and working on hands-on projects. I like inventing new gadgets and turning discarded materials into works of art or functional items (like wallets). These are usually posted on my website under the “Stuff” section. I also enjoy graphic design and often work on digital projects for various organizations and clubs. I actually have my own T-shirt line which I designed and is available on my website. I also enjoy writing, reading, playing video games and cracking jokes with friends.
What instrument do you play and what do you talk about when you play at a Gurdwara?
I play both tabla and harmonium, as well as dilruba although I’m not as good at it. I often accompany my father (Bhai Manmohan Singh) on tabla or side vaja, and I am also part of Baani Veechaar Jatha. Along with the kirtan, I do Katha in English and Punjabi so that the sangat, especially the youth, can understand the meanings of Gurbani and connect with the kirtan. I usually just talk about the shabads we are singing, what they mean and how we can apply them to our lives. Whatever I say isn’t just for the sangat but applies to me as well.
Is there anything else you would like to mention or any message you would like to give people?
I’d just like to tell everyone out there, make sure you pursue your passion. I’m not saying this as a cliche` phrase, I actually mean it. Take time to to look for the meaning in what you do.. its easy to fall into a routine and do something just because its convenient or pays well. Its always good to have some creative outlet to pour your energy into, beyond school and work. Sometimes we just need a release from these things, don’t forget to take it!
One important thing I’ve learned is that its very easy to judge people without knowing much about them, but if you actually sit down and talk to someone, you’ll be surprised at the amazing stories and experiences they may have been through. So just give people a chance, be receptive. At the same time, don’t put anyone on a pedestal. We can love and respect or even admire people, but after some point we just risk being disappointed when they fall short of our expectations. Only Guru Sahib and Waheguru are perfect.
Lastly, enjoy yourself but also remember that chasing after worldly wealth and success cannot provide lasting happiness. I don’t mean to sound preachy but I really believe this. I’m not saying don’t have fun or don’t strive for success, but remember that most of these things we do only provide temporary “highs”, sometimes even at the cost of our physical or mental well-being. The only thing that will satisfy us in the end is the Love and connection with Waheguru, so we should constantly work towards that.
May you continue to bring smiles and laughter to the world. Thank you for speaking with us, it was fun.
Seeing the smiles and looks of amazement on people’s faces keeps me going. I believe that making someone’s face light up with wonder and delight IS real magic.