The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has thrown many lives off track, and entertainers are among the worst hit.
There are those who succumb to the pressure and whine about their predicament while doing nothing to fix the situation, while others weather through the ordeal by making the best out of what they have, or can find.
One of the latter is magician Vikneswaran Allagu, who goes by his stage name Vikey.
Having made his name in the global arena in the magic industry, the 32-year-old has now ventured into the durian business, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the uninitiated, Vikey has won the prestigious Merlin Award - the highest international magic honour, and is renowned for some of his more dangerous stunts, including fast escape from a buried coffin, and a water torture cell - over which he holds the Malaysian Book of Records.
Vikey has also previously done a magic show on Astro Vaanavil called Maayavithagan.
Astro Ulagam recently caught up with Vikey, who recalled having his performance bookings and stage shows being called off as early as January this year, when the coronavirus started to appear around the world.
"My main source of income were magic performances and an event management company built around it.
"I had to survive on savings when my bookings got cancelled, and that too, was running out quick," said the sole breadwinner of his family, and a father of a two-year-old girl. His wife is expecting their second child.
As he was looking for alternate means for survival, Vikey came across a neighbour who sold durian off the back of his Perodua Kancil.
Being a durian lover, and the owner of a pick-up truck, he got the idea of getting involved in the business as well. However, he had to first overcome the hurdle of getting to know about the fruit, as at this point, he only knew how to "eat it".
Vikey eventually liaised with a durian trader who agreed to sell the fruits to him wholesale, and teach him the tricks of the trade, before getting into the business.
During the initial days of his business, selling durian off the back of his truck, around Jalan Ipoh, business was lukewarm.
The fact that he was clad in a tuxedo while selling the fruits - just as he would when pulling magic tricks on a stage, did not help much either.
Business Takes OffThen Vikey got a bright idea - to promote his business on his social media accounts, which already had a sizeable following from his magician days.
Business soon caught up, with people he already knew, and strangers, coming to him to buy durian. And then the delivery orders started coming in.
To date, Vikey has received bulk orders from corporate companies, and even for government events.
One of his speciality (at the moment), is he does not impose delivery charges for sending durian to any location in the Klang Valley.
"I have even gone as far as Seremban to deliver an order, and did not impose delivery charge," he said.
There is also no minimum or maximum cap for his order, with him accommodating orders for as little as 1kg or as big as several kilos.
"Now, I get up to 15 orders a day, and I have done delivery runs as late as 2am once."
Dealing in the thorny fruit, Vikey still does not let up on his original passion - magic.
He tries to incorporate magic tricks when dealing with customers - sometimes upon request, and sometimes willingly, to attract customers.
For now, Vikey has no plans to give up on either of his passion.
Vikey's real-life story was recently portrayed by the RHB bank, in its Deepavali advertisement. The said ad has garnered more than 1.1 million views since it was uploaded just three days ago.
Those who would like to support Vikey in his venture can do so by contacting him at 017-3136413 or via his Instagram account at Vikey Magic.
Photo source: Vikey