Inspired by the works of illusionists Derren Brown and David Blaine, management consultant Narpath Raman quit his job at the young age of 23, to become a street performer. While corporate shows brought him acclaim as a mentalist, what truly brought the spotlight on him was when he managed to get former Indian cricket team skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, to reveal his first crush, at an event in Jaipur in 2018, the video of which can be found on Raman’s channel. But Raman is no psychic and he believes, much to the dismay of the global mentalist community, that nobody — absolutely nobody — can read minds. It’s not a superpower, but a skill, honed through years of practice.

Following the national lockdown, Raman decided to share his secrets via online classes, on a whim. “It was the fear of losing the craft that drove me to start these classes. I decided to put out a message on social media. I got a lot of responses. In fact, the first batch has just graduated, after a 21-day course,” he says. The first batch had 24 students, and 21 days is the course duration because, he believes, it takes three weeks to build a practice. Every session is recorded on Zoom, and mailed to the students, so they can download it in case they miss a session. The students also get a lifetime warranty of sorts — his students can hit him up regarding doubts and such, any time, for as long as he’s alive. Raman charges Rs. 25,000 per student.

But, mentalism is a very personal activity. It requires the mentalist to study verbal and non-verbal cues and to read the room, so to say. How does this work online where, sometimes, you can barely see the person properly? “When I started, I had the same doubts. As we went through the course, after about the second or the third day, I figured that it was working. Every batch consists of only five students, and it’s a 90-minute class. So, I ensure every student understands what I’m trying to say and only then, do I move on. I stay with them from scratch, and the studying is mostly through numerous sources I’ve learnt “It was the fear of losing the craft that drove me to start these classes. I decided to put out a message on social media. I got a lot of responses. In fact, the first batch has just graduated, after a 21-day course” from. I also give them examples from real life,” he says.

His students range from actors, to the VPs of major companies. During the class, they come to him with scenarios they might face in their lives, and he plays out the scene with them to ensure that they can use the skill of mentalism in their said environment. In that sense, everything is curated according to each person’s needs. The most difficult part about teaching the course online was to visualise how his students would use the skills he’s perfected on the streets, in the posh environments they live in. Due to the lockdown, Raman’s students could only test their skills on members of their family, or partners they are staying with. The true test will come when they can test the skills they’ve been taught in a variety of scenarios. “This is the reason behind community, Raman says. Every student is handpicked, and the key to getting into these classes is to make Raman believe that they’ll go forward and perform the pieces taught to them. He wants the students to take mentalism ahead and spread the art. Raman is averse to people who want to take his online course only to understand how his skills work, and do nothing with it themselves. The most common question his students have asked Raman during his course is, “Will we get the same reaction as you get from us?” His answer is simple. Every reaction and response depends on the number of hours his students put into the craft, and nothing else. As he says it’s not magic, but science. And like with all things, it boils down to the sweat and tears you put into it. the lifetime warranty of coming back with questions,” he says.

“Let’s say somebody is going on a date. I teach them a piece that they can perform on a date. Or, someone has to go for a meeting or is pitching a new idea for their business. I’ll be with them through the process, and they can always come back to me,” he says. However, the over-arching reason for starting these classes, is to start a community, Raman says. Every student is handpicked, and the key to getting into these classes is to make Raman believe that they’ll go forward and perform the pieces taught to them. He wants the students to take mentalism ahead and spread the art. Raman is averse to people who want to take his online course only to understand how his skills work, and do nothing with it themselves.

The most common question his students have asked Raman during his course is, “Will we get the same reaction as you get from us?” His answer is simple. Every reaction and response depends on the number of hours his students put into the craft, and nothing else. As he says it’s not magic, but science. And like with all things, it boils down to the sweat and tears you put into it.