Odisha State Board CHSE Odisha Class 11 Invitation to English 2 Solutions Non-Detailed Chapter 4 The One and only Houdini Textbook Exercise Questions and Answers.
CHSE Odisha 11th Class English Solutions Non-Detailed Chapter 4 The One and only Houdini
CHSE Odisha Class 11 English The One and only Houdini Text Book Questions and Answers
Unit – I
The writer takes us back to the swimming pool at New York’s Shelton Hotel. In response to Houdini’s declaration, a box is ready. After he enters inside, it will be tightly closed. The pool now becomes the scene of an incredible performance. Driven by curiosity, people are gathering here. The reporter finds a telephone and an alarm bell with batteries inside the box for eventualities. According to Collins, he is going without air for even an hour. Houdini is as good as words. In the mean time, Dr. MacConnell emerges on the scene. He has already checked Houdini’s blood pressure and pulse. Everything is fine. The reporter is interested to know how long he can live without air. To the doctor, it is a difficult question.
He comes to know of Houdini’s knowledge of breathing easily and saving the oxygen. His condition is stable, yet he is fifty-two. The doctor is sure of Houdini’s ability to cope with danger. Now Houdini clad in a black swimming suit appears, smiling and determined. He expresses his thanks to the ladies and gentlemen for coming to see his performance. He is going to explode the myth that a man can live only three minutes without air. Now we find Houdini in the box. Several men are engaged in sealing it tightly. Then the box was submerged in the swimming pool of Hotel Shelton. Joseph Rinn, the official time keeper is in charge of counting every minute of Houdini’s stay in the box. The reporter is optimistic.
edge : the sharp side of something (କୌଣସି ଜିନିଷର ତୀକ୍ଷ୍ଣ ପାର୍ଶ୍ୱ)
sealed: closed tightly (ଜୋରରେ ବନ୍ଦ)
soldered: firmly fixed with solder (solder is easily melted metal) (ସୋଲ୍ଡର ସହିତ ଦୃଢ଼ ଭାବରେ ସ୍ଥିର କରାୟାଇଛି)
trick : cheating, a fraud (ଠକେଇ, ଜାଲିଆତି)
emergencies : sudden happenings which make it necessary to act without delay (ଜରୁରୀକାଳୀନ ପରିସ୍ଥିତି)
And days : Houdini is as good as his words (ଏବଂ ଦିନଗୁଡିକ)
Concerned : anxious (t) (ଚିନ୍ତିତ)
signal (v): to give a sign (ଏକ ଚିହ୍ନ ଦେବାକୁ)
build (n): general shape or size of a person’s body (ଜଣେ ବ୍ୟକ୍ତିର ଶରୀରର ସାଧାରଣ ଆକାର ବା ଆକାର)
He himself: Housini is firm in his determination (ସେ ନିଜେ)
motioning: making a sign (ଏକ ଚିହ୍ନ ତିଆରି କରିବା)
will : desire (ଇଚ୍ଛା)
rocked: moved backwards and forwards (ପଛକୁ ଏବଂ ଆଗକୁ ଗତି କଲା)
admire : praise (ପ୍ରଶଂସା)
Unit – II
Five minutes have passed ever since he was in a sealed casket submerged in the swimming pool. In the meantime, the reporter probes his past. His real name is Ehrich Weiss. His native place is Appleton, Wisconsin. He was born in 1874. His father was a Jewish priest. Houdini, renowned for his remarkable magic tricks, has an astonishing control over his body. He excels in the art of putting his shoulders out of position. When he was working for a locksmith, Ehrich knew technique of opening handcuffs with small, sharp pointed instruments. He also took interest in reading about Robert Houdini, the renowned French magician. At last he relinquished his job and became a professional magician under the name of Harry Houdini.
The reporter gives a picture of Houdini’s married life. Bessie is his wife. She was a magician too. Houdini is known for his sensational escape acts. Bessie has stood by her husband through thick and thin. Rinn informs that twenty minutes have passed. Tension mounts. Houdini has a tension-ridden career. His underwater box escape is a case in point. Handcuffed and chained, Harry Houdini is placed in a wooden box which firmly shut with nails. The box is then left underwater. Houdini accepts the challenge in his characteristic tricky manner. He swims to the surface safe and sound in a few minutes. This also demonstrates his skill in using tricks. Rinn, the official time-keeper keeps on counting time. Twenty five minutes have gone. In Houdini, the reporter finds an unusual person. He admires Houdini’s incredible control of chest muscles. He excels others in the act of moving around inside the jacket at the time of relaxation. The reporter is lavish in his praise, ‘There’s only one Houdini.’
Thirty minutes have trickled by. The reporter sees one of the swimmers standing on the box lose his balance. Other swimmers are no better. The box has moved up quickly above the water level. The reporter is worried. He enquires of Mr. Collins, about his condition. Collins talks to Houdini and says that he is fine. Rinn announces that thirty minutes have passed since Houdini’s adventure. The reporter brims with confidence. Houdini’s rigorous training for three weeks seems to be rewarded. The reporter thinks of Houdini’s march to a spectacular success. Forty minutes have elapsed. Meanwhile, the reporter refers eloquently to Houdini’s wonderful stomach muscles, that have resisted the fists of big, strong men. Forty-five minutes have already gone.
amazing : astonishing ବିସ୍ମୟକର)
dislocate : put out of position (ପଦରୁ ବାହାର)
straitjacket(ଷ୍ଟ୍ରେଟ୍ ଜାକେଟ୍) : kind of garment once used to prevent madman from struggling
rabbi: Jewish priest (ଇହୁଦୀ ପୁରୋହିତ)
locksmith: one who makes locks (ଯିଏ ତାଲା ତିଆରି କରେ)
a bit picks : a little small, sharp-pointed instruments (ଟିକିଏ ବାଛି ନେଲେ)
quit: give up (ତ୍ୟାଗ କରିବା)
idol : somebody greatly admired or loved (ଆଦର୍ଶ)
catch sight of: see (ଦେଖିବା)
career : way of making a living; profession (ବୃଭି)
bobbed up : moved up quickly (ଦ୍ରୁତ ଗତିରେ ଉପରକୁ ଉଠିଲା)
paying off : rewarding (ପୁରସ୍କାର ପ୍ରଦାନକାରୀ)
sources : places from which information comes or is got (ସୂତ୍ର)
claims : says, declares (କହୁଛି, ଘୋଷଣା କରୁଛି)
punch (v) : strike hard with the fist (ମୁଠା ସାହାୟ୍ୟରେ ଜୋରରେ ପ୍ରହାର କରନ୍ତୁ)
tensed : stiffened or hardened (ଦୃଢ଼ୀଭୂତ)
withstand : resist (ପ୍ରତିରୋଧ କରିବା)
Unit – III
Houdini’s well-being concern the people. Everybody seems to be nervous. The doctors seem especially panicky. The reporter enquires of Dr. MaConnell about Houdini’s present condition. The doctor is really not aware of anything about him. Fifty minutes have gone. Other reporters are furiously taking track of Houdini’s adventurous mission. Time does not wait for anybody. Rinn announces – “Fifty minutes !” A group of grim-looking doctors seem to arguing with James Collins, Houdini’s assistant. Collins pleads his helplessness. The doctor advises him to be sensible and pull Houdini out of the box when an hour is up. Collins is adamant. The doctor insists him on responding to his advise. Collins contacts Houdini and apprising him of the doctors’ pressure on him to bring him out of the casket and an hour has passed. He gives them good news. Houdini is doing well. But the reporter’s anxiety continues.
Now one hour and thirteen minutes are up. Collins learns that the box has developed a leak and only a little trickle of water is entering. Houdini tells him that he faces no danger. The reporter promptly responds: “Houdini has nerves of steel.’’ This section comes to a terrific end. In spite of spending one hour and thirty-one minutes, underwater without air, Houdini emerges victorious. His secret lies in making very few body movements while in the box and taking short breaths. Houdini knows no panic. He has trained to reconcile himself to any situation. We see him in the reporter’s eyes: ‘You ’re a fantastic man, Mr. Harry Houdini!’
on edge : nervous (ସ୍ନାୟବିକ)
exhaustion : tiredness (ଅବସାଦ)
superstitious: full of superstition (ଅନ୍ଧବିଶ୍ୱାସରେ ପୂର୍ଣ୍ଣ)
grim : (here) anxious (ଉତ୍କଣ୍ଠିତ)
sensible : intelligent (ବିଚକ୍ଷଣ)
urging : persuading (ପ୍ରରୋଚନା)
sprung a leak : appeared to have a leak (ଲିକ୍ ହୋଇଥିବା ଜଣାପଡ଼ିଥିଲା)
trickle : thin flow (ପତଳା ପ୍ରବାହ)
dizzy : feeling as if everything is whirling (ସବୁ ଘୂରିବା ଭଳି)
panic (v) : a sudden fright (ହଠାତ୍ ଭୟ)
calm : quiet (ଶାନ୍ତ)
fantastic : wonderful (ଅଦ୍ଭୁତ)
Think it out :
What was the feat that Houdini took up in Hotel Shelton?
The feat that Houdini took up in Hotel Shelton was to remain in a sealed casket or coffin submerged in a swimming pool. He was to stay inside the tightly closed box for an hour and that too without air. According to Mr. Collins, his assistant, Houdini was serious about being buried alive.
What were Houdini’s purposes behind doing this miraculous act?
Houdini’s purposes behind doing this miraculous act were to disprove science and thereby, to show that determination can shake mountains. It is well-known that man can only live only three minutes without air, but he is going to stay without air for over an hour. Houdini is committed and according to Collins: ‘Houdini does what he says.’
Discuss how he prepared to do the act.
Houdini undertook a rigorous training for three weeks at a stretch. He practised the habit of holding his breath in the course of his underwater escapes. He trained long and hard with great patience before doing the act. He developed a mastery over his body control. Determination, hard work and calm acceptance of any challenge were his forte.
Focus on the role of the reporter during Houdini’s performance.
From beginning to the end, the reporter had a keen watch on Houdini’s, spectacular performance in New York’s Hotel Shelton. He is the first to communicate Houdini’s ordeal in the swimming pool of New York’s Hotel Shelton to the public. He always keeps on touch with Dr. McConnell, Collins, Houdini’s assistant and Joseph Rinn, the official time-keeper. He probes Houdini’s past. As minutes trickle by, the reporter’s reaction fluctuates from anxiety to confidence. Houdini’s incredible feat of remaining in a sealed box, submerged in the swimming pool of the Hotel Shelton, overwhelms him. His admiration of Houdini’s knows no bound.
Describe some of Houdini’s previous achievements.
Houdini was an Austrian-Hungarian born. American stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts from handcuffs and jails in the length and breadth of the country and Europe. Once he was handcuffed to the bars in a jail cell. While kissing him for good luck, his wife Bessie passed a small lock tool from her mouth to his. Several minutes later Houdini took his jailers by surprise. His handcuff was no more. He walked freely into their office. His underwater escape is another achievement. Besides, Houdini became a professional magician under the name of Harry Houdini.
Why does the reporter say to Houdini, You’re a fantastic man?
The reporter here is a keen observer of Houdini’s miraculous act of remaining in a tightly-closed box, submerged in the swimming pool of New York’s Hotel Shelton for one hour and thirty minutes. Houdini comes out with flying colours, putting an end to everyone’s fear, tension and anxiety. That he is able to survive so long in such a situation bears the stamp of his determination. Houdini states that he had trained himself to remain calm in the face of any situation. These facts make the reporter say to Houdini, ‘You’re a fantastic man.’
Bring out the important aspects of Houdini’s character.
Harry Houdini is a many-faceted character. He is a magician. He is also known for his sensational escape acts. He is an incredible stuntman. His act of remaining in a sealed box, submerged in the swimming pool of New York’s Hotel Shelton for one hour and a half is indeed unprecedented. He is the epitome of commitment. He does not understand the language of fear. To maintain calmness in any situation is his forte. We see him through the doctor’s eyes: ‘Houdini’s an amazing man!’ The reporter aptly remarks, ‘You’re a fantastic man, Mr. Harry Houdini.’ Houdini’s life shows that an ordinary human being can achieve anything through determination and hard work.
CHSE Odisha Class 11 English The One and only Houdini Important Questions and Answers
Read through the extract and answer the questions that follow.
Reporter Thanks, Mr. Collins. It’s hard to believe that a man can live without air for over an hour. Oh, here come the doctors. Dr. McConnell, have you seen Houdini?
Dr. MaConnell: Yes, I just checked his blood pressure and pulse rate. They’re both normal.
Reporter: How last without long do you think Houdini will air?
Dr. MaConnell: That’s a difficult question. When they seal the box, there will be enough oxygen inside for the average man to take fifty breaths. Houdini says he knows how to breathe easily and save the oxygen. He is in good condition, but still he’s fifty two years old. I’d guess he might be able to get by without air for fifteen minutes.
Reporter: And after that?
Dr. MaConnell: After that Houdini had better telephone for help or ring his alarm bell – if he still has the strength.
Reporter: Are you doctors worried?
Dr. MaConnell: Well, we’re concerned. Houdini’s no fool. He isn’t trying to kill himself. But there’s always the danger that he’ll pass out before he can signal for help.
Reporter: There’s Houdini now! He’s wearing a black swimming suit. For a man his age, his build is great. He’s smiling. He seems sure of himself. Now he’s motioning for silence!
Houdini: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. As you know, it has often been written that a man can live only three minutes without air. I’m going to prove that that is wrong. If I die, it will be by the will of God and my own foolishness.
Reporter: Houdini’s in the box now. Several men are putting the iron cover in place. This is it! A man is soldering the cover. The box will be lowered into the shallow end of this pool. Then a team of swimmers will stand on the box to keep it level beneath the surface of the water. So far, the only person I’ve seen who doesn’t look nervous is Houdini. Well, they’re lowering the box. It’s under! Joseph Rinn, the official
timekeeper, has started the clock. Mr. Rinn, what are your plans?
(i) Throw light on the conversation between the reporter and Dr. McConnell. What does it reveal?
(ii) What does the reporter tell us about Houdini’s imperial ordeal?
(i) The reporter asks Dr. McConnell if he has checked Houdini. The doctor replies that his blood pressure and pulse rate are Both normal. The reporter asks the doctor how long he thinks Houdini will breathe. McConnell in his reply, states that the average man breaths fifty times in a sealed box, but Houdini is an exception. He knows the technique of breathing easily, but the doctor guessing he could remain without air for fifteen minutes. After that Houdini would be advised to seek help. The conversation between the two reveals their concern for Houdini.
(ii) The reporter apprises all of Houdini’s presence inside the box. After sealing it firmly, several men will put the box into the shallow end of the swimming pool. After that a team of swimmers will stand on it to maintain it level below the surface of the water. The reporter says that he has never seen such a person as Houdini, for he never looks nervous, despite this great ordeal. We also learn that Joseph Rinn, the official time-keeper has a look at the watch.
Read through the extract and answer the questions that follow.
Reporter: Well, Houdini is going past the limit suggested by Dr. Mc Connell! I wonder how his wife Bessie, is taking this. I haven’t been able to catch sight of her. She’s also a magician. After she married Houdini, they both had an act that played in many theatres. She dropped out after Houdini became famous for his escapes from handcuffs and jails throughout the country and in Europe. She still helped him, though. Once, after Houdini had been searched and handcuffed to the bars in a jail cell, she kissed him for good luck. It was more than good luck she offered. She also passed a lock pick from her mouth to his. Several minutes later, Houdini surprised his jailers by walking into their office.
Rinn: Twenty minutes!
Reporter: The tension here is growing. But tension has followed Houdini through most of his career. Take his underwater box escape, for example. He is handcuffed and chained. Then he’s put in a wooden box and it’s nailed shut. After that the box is dropped underwater. Minutes later Houdini swims to the surface. In that act, though, he uses tricks. He has lock picks and other special tools hidden on him or in the box. But there’s always the risk that the picks or tools will fail. Most people wouldn’t try Houdini’s escape tricks even if they knew how to do them.
(i) Describe the part played by Bessie in Houdini’s life.
(ii) Describe of Houdini’s feat of underwater escape.
(i) Houdini is widely known for his sensational escapes. Bessie, a magician, plays an important part in her husband’s life. Both had showed magic in many theatres. Houdini’s life is a saga of escape from handcuffs and jails in the length and breadth of the country and in Europe. Bessie stood by him through thick and thin. Once she kissed her husband for good luck. He was in a prison cell. In the course of offering her good luck, Bessie passed a small lock tool from her mouth to his. Several minutes later, the jailers, to their astonishment, saw Houdini walk into their office.
(ii) Houdini, handcuffed and chained, was put in a wooden box which was tightly sealed with nails. Then it was dropped underwater. After some minutes, Houdini swims to the surface safe and sound by using tricks, though he possesses lock picks and other special instruments not visible to others. This underwater box escape is one of Houdini’s wonderful feats.
Read through the extract and answer the questions that follow.
Reporter: Well, one can only wonder how he’s doing in the box. He still has a long time to go. Of course, he is unusual. Did you know that he can tie and untie rope with either foot? That won’t help him now, but it’s another example of his body control. He also has great control of his chest muscles. Before he’s bound into a straitjacket, he fills his chest with air. Later, when he relaxes, he can move around inside the jacket. Perhaps it sounds easy. But others have tried the same trick and failed. There’s only one Houdini!
Rinn: Thirty minutes!
Reporter: Oh – oh! There’s trouble! One of the swimmers standing on the box has lost his balance. He’s failing into the water! Now the other swimmers are falling, too. The box has bobbed up above the water level. I wonder if Houdini caused the box to move. Mr. Collins, is Houdini all right?
Collins: Quiet, sir, I’m calling Houdini. Harry, can you hear me?
Collins: The swimmers fell off the box. They’re getting back on now. That’s what caused the movement of the box. Are you all right?
Reporter: Mr. Collins, Houdini’s voice sounded faint. Is he well?
Collins: That’s what he said. I believe him.
Rinn: Thirty-five minutes!
Reporter: Houdini’s training seems to be paying off. According to sources around here, he has been training for three weeks. Also, he probably learned a lot about holding his breath while doing his underwater escapes. Anyway, it’s no secret that Houdini always trains long and hard before he does anything for the public. He wants to be sure that he can do anything he claims he will do. And right now he seems on his way to an amazing success.
Rinn: Forty minutes!
Reporter: When I was talking before about Houdini’s chest muscles, I failed to mention his stomach. Quite often, he lets local strongmen punch him in the stomach as hard as they can. Of course, his stomach muscles are tensed, but they have to be almost as hard as steel to withstand the fists of big, strong men.
(i) Give an account of Houdini’s chest muscles and stomach muscles.
(ii) What picture of Houdini do you get in the extract?
(i) The reporter presents a very clear picture of Houdini’s chest and stomach muscles. He eloquently refers to Houdini’s great control of his chest muscles. Before being bound into a straitjacket, he fill his chest with air. But, in times of relaxation, he has the ability to move around inside the jacket. The reporter then throws light on Houdini’s stomach muscles. Very often, he allows local strong men punch his Stomach in the hardest possible manner. His stomach muscles tensed, but they have to be as hard as steel to resist the fists of big, strong men.
(ii) We see Houdini through the reporter’s eyes, “Of course, he is unusual.” He has the ability to tie and untie rope with either foot. He is remarkable for his great control over his chest muscles. Before being bound into a straightjacket, he pumps air into his chest. In his moments of relaxation, he is capable of moving around inside the jacket. But others have tried the same trick but in vain. The reporter aptly remarks, ‘There ‘s only one Houdini.’ Houdini resorts to rigorous training before he does anything for the public.
Read through the extract and answer the questions that follow.
Collins: All right. Houdini, can you hear me? You have just passed an hour. The doctors are urging me to pull you out. What do you say?
Houdini I’ll let you know when I’m ready.
Rinn: One hour and one minute!
Collins: Well, you heard him, gentlemen. He seems to be doing well.
Reporter: Rinn’s going to be calling out each minute from here on. I’ll get back to him. Meanwhile, I’d like to hear from one of the doctors. Is this a world’s record, Doctor?
Doctor: As far as I know, it is. If I weren’t here, I don’t think I would believe it. Houdini’s an amazing man!
Reporter: He certainly is, Doctor, and thank you. Well, people are whispering to one another around the pool. When Houdini passed the hour mark, some of the crowd seemed to relax somewhat. Still Houdini is far from safe. I’m going to try to pick up the time.
Rinn: One hour and thirteen minutes!
Reporter: Did you hear that? What a man. Wait! Collins has a call from Houdini.
Collins: Had enough, sir?
Houdini: No. The box has sprung a leak. But there’s no danger. Only a slight trickle of water is coming in.
Collins: Are you sure?
Reporter: Houdini has nerves of steel. He’s under there with no air, and the water is leaking in on him. Yet he’s going to stay.
Rinn: One hour and twenty-five minutes.
Reporter: I must say, I wish he would come up. I’m probably more nervous than he is. Even Collins seems to be showing some concern.
Rinn: One hour and thirty minutes.
Reporter: This may be it! Collins has a call.
Houdini: Jim, get me up.
Reporter: They’re raising the box. Now they’re opening it. I wish they’d hurry.
Rinn: One hour and thirty-one minutes.
Reporter: Dr. McConnell has Houdini’s arms. He’s checking the magician’s pulse and blood pressure. How is he, Doctor?
Dr. McConnell: His pulse and blood pressure are very low. The man’s suffering from exhaustion.
Houdini: Nonsense! I feel a little dizzy, that’s all! If I do an hour or so of exercise. I’ll feel fine.
Reporter: Mr. Houdini, congratulations! How did you do it? Was it a trick?
Houdini: It was no trick. I took a series of deep breaths before the cover was soldered on. I made very few body movements while in the box and took short breaths. That’s all. I certainly hope that trapped coal miners and deep-sea divers take a lesson from this.
Reporter: How can they take a lesson from your performance. Mr. Houdini? You’re in perfect physical condition.
Houdini: They must learn not to panic. If you panic, your body needs more air. I have trained myself to remain calm in all situations. Everyone should do the same.
(i) Describe Collin’s contact with Houdini.
(ii) What happens after Houdini comes out of the box?
(i) The doctor and the reporter are concerned about Houdini, because there has been no sign from the man in the box yet. They insist on Collins, Houdini’s assistant, to talk to him. Collins informs him of the passage of an hour and the doctors pressure on him to pull him (Houdini) out. Collins waits for his reply. He learns that he is doing well and shares this information with them. Collins gets a call from Houdini concerning the leak in the box and a slight trickle of water coming in.
(ii) After Houdini comes out of the iron box in a triumphant fashion, the reporter congratulated him on remaining for one hour and thirty-one minutes in a sealed box and that too submerged in a swimming pool. He asks Houdini if he had resorted to a trick for his success. Houdini says that there was no trick. He had taken a series of deep breaths before the cover of the box was firmly fixed with solder. During his stay inside the box, he made few body movements and took short breaths. Above all, he has trained himself to remain calm in the face of any situation. In the reporter’s view, Houdini is a fantastic man.
Introducing the Author :
Dr. Robert Lado is one of the founders of contrastive linguistics which as a sub-disciple of applied linguistics served the purpose of improving language teaching material. He is a prolific writer. His works include over 60 books and many articles that deal with various topics ranging from linguistics to language testing and cross-cultural understanding.
About the Story :
‘The One and Only Houdini’, as the title signifies, throws light on Houdini’s miraculous act. Houdini’s second variation on Buried Alive was an endurance test designed to expose mystical Egyptian performer Rahman Bey, who claimed to use supernatural powers to remain in a sealed casket for an hour. Houdini bettered Bey on August 5, 1926, by remaining in a sealed casket, or coffin, submerged in the swimming pool of New York’s Hotel Shelton for one hour and a half. Houdini claimed he did not use any trickery or supernatural powers to accomplish this feat, just controlled breathing.
It was August 5, 1926. All eyes were set on the swimming pool at New York’s Hotel Shelton. James Collins, Houdini’s assistant, Dr. Mc Connell and Joseph Rinn, the official time-keeper were present. People were gathering gradually at the pool. They were placing the iron box near the pool’s edge. It comprised a telephone and an alarm bell with batteries.
Harry Houdini clad in a black swimming suit appeared there. He was fifty-two, yet he was in good physical condition. Before getting inside the box, Houdini thanked everyone for coming to see his performance. He was going to disprove the theory that a man could live only three minutes without air. Houdini was inside the box now. Then it was tightly sealed. A team of swimmers would stand on the box before it was submerged in the swimming pool. The swimmers were instructed to keep the box level beneath the surface of the water as a result of which Houdini will not be moved backwards and forwards. The countdown started.
Houdini who was keen on going without air for an hour made him an object of attention. His success would come out in all newspapers all over the world. The reporter probed Houdini’s past. His real name was Ehrich Weiss, who was born in Appleton, Wisconsin. He was interested in magic. He became a professional magician under the name of Harry Houdini. He was married. Houdini was widely known for his sensational escape acts. Bessie had played a great role in her husband’s life. Minutes trickled by. Nobody knows what Houdini was doing inside the box. He had undertaken this ordeal after undergoing rigorous training for three weeks. Houdini possessed strong chest muscles. His tough stomach muscles resisted the fists of big, strong men.
With the passing of minutes, fear and anxiety gripped the people. There was no response from Houdini. The doctor in particular advised Collins to pull him out of the box when an hour was up. After interacting with Houdini, Collins declared that he seems to have smooth sailing. Doctor’s anxiety gave way to admiration. Houdini was an amazing man! Collins got a call from him. The box had developed a leak and only a slight trickle of water was entering. Everybody was understandably concerned. It was now one hour and thirty minutes. The box was opened. To everyone’s stunned disbelief, Houdini emerged out of it with flying colours. The reporter congratulated him. One key to his achievement lay in his ability to be calm in the face of any situation. The topic comes to close with the reporter’s fabulous remark, ‘You’re a fantastic man, Mr. Harry Houdini!’
Harry Houdini ଥିଲେ ଜଣେ ପ୍ରସିଦ୍ଧ ଯାଦୁକର । ତାଙ୍କ ସ୍ତ୍ରୀ Bessie ମଧ୍ୟ ଜଣେ ଯାଦୁକର ଥିଲେ । ସେମାନେ ଉଭୟ ଅନେକ ମ୍ୟାଜିକ୍ ସୋ ଦେଖାଇଛନ୍ତି । ତାଙ୍କର ସବୁଠୁ ଭଲ ସୋ ଥିଲା, Houdini ଙ୍କୁ ହ୍ୟାଣ୍ଟକପ୍ ପକାଇଦେଲେ ସେ ଆପଣାଛାଏଁ ହ୍ୟାଣ୍ଡକପ୍ ଖୋଲିଦେଇ ଚାଲିଆସୁଥିଲେ । ତାଙ୍କୁ ପାଣିଭିତରେ ବୁଡ଼ାଇ ରଖୁଲେ ସେ ଆପେ ଆପେ କୂଳରେ ଲାଗିଯାଉଥିଲେ । ତାଙ୍କର ଯାଦୁଖେଳର ୟୁରୋପରେ ଖୁବ୍ ନାଁ ଥିଲା । ଦିନେ Houdini ଘୋଷଣା କଲେ ଯେ ସେ ଗୋଟେ ନିବୁଜ ବାକ୍ସ ଭିତରେ ରହିବେ ଓ ବାକ୍ସଟି ପାଣିଭିତରେ ବୁଡ଼ାଯିବ । ବାକ୍ସ ଭିତରେ ଟେଲିଫୋନ୍, କଲିଂବେଲ ରହିବ । କିଛି ଲୋକ ବାକ୍ସଟିକୁ ପାଣିଭିତରେ ସ୍ଥିର ଭାବରେ ଧରି ରଖୁବେ । ବିଜ୍ଞାନ କୁହେ, ମଣିଷ ବିନା ବାୟୁରେ ମାତ୍ର ତିନିମିନିଟ୍ ରହିପାରିବ। ମାତ୍ର ସେ ପ୍ରମାଣ କରିଦେବେ ଯେ ସେ ବିନା ବାୟୁରେ ଏକ ଘଣ୍ଟାକାଳ ରହିପାରିବେ ।
Houdini ଙ୍କ ଅଲୌକିକ ଘଟଣା ଦେଖିବାକୁ ସେଦିନ ପୋଖରୀ କୂଳରେ ହଜାର ହଜାର ଲୋକ ଭିଡ଼ ଜମାଇଥାନ୍ତି । ତାଙ୍କ ସହକାରୀ Collins ସାମ୍ବାଦିକମାନଙ୍କୁ ତାଙ୍କ ଗୁରୁଙ୍କ ବିଷୟରେ ବୁଝାଉଥାଏ । Dr. Mcconnell ପ୍ରସ୍ତୁତ ଥାଆନ୍ତି, କାଳେ କିଛି ଅଘଟଣ ଘଟିବ । Rinn ପ୍ରସ୍ତୁତ ଥାଆନ୍ତି ସମୟ ଗଣିବେ । ପ୍ରତି ପାଞ୍ଚ ମିନିଟ୍ରେ ଥରେ ଲେଖାଏଁ ଘୋଷଣା କରିବେ । ଘଣ୍ଟାଏ ଡେଇଁଗଲାପରେ ଯଦି Houdini ନ ଆସନ୍ତି ଓ ଭଲ ଥାଆନ୍ତି, ତେବେ ସେ ତେଣିକି ପ୍ରତ୍ୟେକ ଏକ ମିନିଟ୍ ଘୋଷଣା କରିବେ । Houdini ଧୀର ଓ ହସହସ ମୁହଁରେ ଆସିଲେ । ସେ ସମବେତ ଜନତାଙ୍କୁ ଅଭିବାଦନ ଜଣାଇଲେ ଓ କହିଲେ, ମୁଁ ଆଜି ବିଜ୍ଞାନର ନିୟମକୁ ଭାଙ୍ଗିବାକୁ ଯାଉଛି । ଯଦି ସଫଳ ହେଲି ଭଲକଥା । ଯଦି ମରିଗଲି, ତା ହେଲେ ଜାଣିବ, ଈଶ୍ବର ବୋଧହୁଏ ମୋର ମୁର୍ଖମିକୁ ସହିଲେ ନାହିଁ । Houdini ବାକ୍ସରେ ପଶିଲେ । ତା’ପୂର୍ବରୁ ଡାକ୍ତର ତାଙ୍କର ହୃତ୍ସ୍ପନ୍ଦନ ନାଡ଼ି ପରୀକ୍ଷା କରି ଦେଖୁଥିଲେ ଯେ ସେ ସଂପୂର୍ଣ୍ଣ ସୁସ୍ଥ ଅଛନ୍ତି । ଏଥର ବାକ୍ସକୁ ଭଲଭାବରେ ନିବୁଜ କରାଗଲା । ତାକୁ ପାଣିଭିତରେ ବୁଡ଼ାଇ ରଖାଗଲା ଓ କିଛିଲୋକ ବାସଟିକୁ ପାଣିଭିତରେ ସ୍ଥିରକରି ରଖୁଲେ । ଏଣେ Rinn ଗଣନା ଆରମ୍ଭ କଲେ ।
ମିନିଟ୍ ପରେ ମିନିଟ୍ ଗଡ଼ିଚାଲିଲା । ସାମ୍ବାଦିକ ଜଣକ Collins ଓ ଅନ୍ୟମାନଙ୍କଠାରୁ Houdini ଙ୍କ ବିଷୟରେ ବିଭିନ୍ନ ଖବର ସଂଗ୍ରହ କରୁଥାନ୍ତି । ସେ ଜଣେ ଦକ୍ଷ ଯାଦୁକର । ସେ ନିଜ ଦେହରୁ ହାତକାଢ଼ି ନେଉଥିଲେ । ସେ ୧୮୭୪ ମସିହାରେ Appleton ରେ ଜନ୍ମ ନେଇଥିଲେ । ତାଙ୍କର ପ୍ରକୃତ ନାଁ Enrich Weiss I ତାଙ୍କ ପରିବାର ଖୁବ୍ ଗରିବ ଥିଲା । ଏଣୁ ସେ ପିଲାଟି ଦିନରୁ ପରିବାର ପୋଷିବାପାଇଁ କାମ କରୁଥିଲେ । ସେତେବେଳେ ସେ ହ୍ୟାଣ୍ଡକପ୍ ଖୋଲିବାର କଳାକୌଶଳ ଶିଖୁଥିଲେ । ସେ ମଧ୍ୟ ବେଳେବେଳେ ଫରାସି ଯାଦୁକର Robert Houdini ଙ୍କ ରଚିତ କିଛି ବହି ପଢ଼ି ଖୁବ୍ ପ୍ରଭାବିତ ହେଲେ ଓ ନିଜ ନାଁ ବଦଳାଇ ନିଜକୁ Harry Houdini ନାମରେ ପରିଣତ କରାଇଲେ । ସମୟ ଗଡ଼ି ଚାଲିଥାଏ । Rinn ପାଞ୍ଚ, ଦଶ, ପନ୍ଦର, କୋଡ଼ିଏ ଏମିତି ଗଣିଚାଲିଥାଆନ୍ତି । ଯେଉଁ ଲୋକମାନେ ବାକ୍ସକୁ ଧରିଥିଲେ, ସେମାନେ ଖସି ପଡ଼ିଲେ । ଲୋକମାନେ ଉତ୍କଣ୍ଠିତ ହୋଇପଡ଼ିଲେ । ଭାବିଲେ, Houdini ବୋଧହୁଏ ବାହାରକୁ ଆସିବାକୁ ଚେଷ୍ଟା କରୁଛନ୍ତି । Collins ଟେଲିଫୋନ୍ ଲଗାଇ ପଚାରିଲେ Houdini! | 66 ଅଛନ୍ତି ? ସେ ଉତ୍ତର ଦେଲେ, ଭଲ ଅଛି’’ । ଡାକ୍ତରମାନେ ମତଦେଲେ, ବାକ୍ସଭିତରେ ଯେତିକି ବାୟୁ ଅଛି ସେଥିରେ ଜଣେ ଲୋକ ପଚାଶ ଥର ନିଃଶ୍ବାସ ନେଇପାରିବ । ତା’ପରେ ସେ ନିଶ୍ଚୟ ଅଶ୍ୱସ୍ତି ଅନୁଭବ କରିବ । ସେ ନିଶ୍ଚୟ ବାକ୍ସ ଖୋଲିବାକୁ କହିବେ । Collins କହିଲେ – ମୁଁ ତାଙ୍କୁ ଯେତିକି ଜାଣିଛି, ସେ ସମୟ କେବେ ଆସିବ ନାହିଁ । କାରଣ Houdini କୌଣସି କଥାକୁ ପାଞ୍ଚ ଦଶଥର ପରୀକ୍ଷା ନ କରି ଜଣଙ୍କ ଆଗରେ ପେଶ୍ କରନ୍ତି ନାହିଁ ।
ବେଳକୁ ବେଳ ସାମ୍ବାଦିକଙ୍କ ଭିଡ଼ ଜମିଲା । ଡାକ୍ତରମାନେ ମଧ୍ୟ ଆସି ପହଞ୍ଚିଲେ । ସେମାନେ କହିଲେ – ଏହା ଏକ ଆତ୍ମଘାତୀ କାର୍ଯ୍ୟ । Houdini ଙ୍କୁ ଏଥୁରୁ ନିବୃତ୍ତ କରାଯାଉ । ଏହା ଭିତରେ ଘଣ୍ଟାଏ ବି ହୋଇଗଲା । ଲୋକମାନେ କିଛି ସମୟପାଇଁ ଖୁସି ଦେଖାଗଲେ । ଭାବିଲେ, ଏଥର Houdini ବାହାରକୁ ଆସିବାକୁ କହିବେ । ମାତ୍ର ସେମିତି କିଛି ହେଲା ନାହିଁ । ଡାକ୍ତରମାନେ ବାଧ୍ୟ କରିବାରୁ Collins ପୁଣିଥରେ ଟେଲିଫୋନ୍ ଲଗାଇ ପଚାରିଲେ – Houdini ! ଡାକ୍ତରମାନେ ବାଧ୍ୟକରୁଛନ୍ତି ବାହାରକୁ ଆସିବାପାଇଁ । Houdini ଉତ୍ତର ଦେଲେ – ମୁଁ କହିଲେ ମତେ ଉପରକୁ ନେବ । ଏଥର ଲୋକମାନେ କୁହାକୁହି ହେଲେ – Houdini ନିଃଶ୍ଵାସ ପ୍ରଶ୍ଵାସ ରୋଧ କରିବା ତାଲିମ ପାଇଛନ୍ତି । ସେ ବିନା ବାୟୁରେ ରହିବାର କୌଶଳ ଶିଖ୍ଯାଇଛନ୍ତି । ଏହା ଭିତରେ ଏକ ଘଣ୍ଟା ତିରିଶ ମିନିଟ୍ ହେଲା । ଏଥର Houdini ଙ୍କ ଠାରୁ ସଂକେତ ଆସିଲା ତାଙ୍କ ବାହାରକୁ ଆଣିବାପାଇଁ । ଲୋକମାନେ ଏକଘଣ୍ଟା ଏକତିରିଶ ମିନିଟ୍ରେ ବାକ୍ସ ଖୋଲିଲେ । ଡାକ୍ତରମାନେ Houdiniଙ୍କ ସ୍ବାସ୍ଥ୍ୟ ପରୀକ୍ଷା କଲେ । କିଛି ବ୍ୟତିକ୍ରମ ହୋଇନଥିଲା । ସାମ୍ବାଦିକମାନେ Houdiniଙ୍କୁ ଅଭିନନ୍ଦନ ଜଣାଇଲେ ।
ଏଥର ସାମ୍ବାଦିକମାନେ Houdini ଙ୍କୁ ପଚାରିଲେ ଏହା କେମିତି ସଂଭବ ହେଲା ? Houdini କହିଲେ ଏଥିରେ ଯାଦୁବିଦ୍ୟା ନାହିଁ । ଏହା ଏକ ସାଧନା ମାତ୍ର । ମୁଁ ନିଃଶ୍ଵାସ ରୋଧ କରିବା ଶିଖୁ ଯାଇଛି । ଏହା ମତେ ଏତେ ସମୟ ବାକ୍ସ ଭିତରେ ବଞ୍ଚାଇ ରଖୁ । ଶ୍ଵାସକ୍ରିୟା ଖୁବ୍ ମନ୍ଥର ଥିଲା । ସାମ୍ବାଦିକମାନେ ପଚାରିଲେ – ଆପଣ ଯୁବଗୋଷ୍ଠୀଙ୍କୁ କି ବାର୍ତ୍ତା ଦେବେ ? Houdini କହିଲେ – ସେମାନେ ଭୟ କରିବା ଛାଡ଼ି ଦିଅନ୍ତୁ । ସେମାନେ ଯେ କୌଣସି ପରିସ୍ଥିତିକୁ ସହଜ, ସରଳ ଓ ଶାନ୍ତ ଭାବରେ ସାମ୍ନା କରିବାକୁ ଶିଖନ୍ତୁ । ସମସ୍ତେ Houdini ଙ୍କର ଜୟଗାନ କଲେ ।