Harry Potter – the one book that has been an integral part of my childhood and I must accept, my adulthood as well. It is only fair that I dedicate a post in this blog to the phenomena that it was and it still is. I got introduced to the book series by my brother who is as much of a bookworm as I am, if not more. ‘The Boy Who Lived’ – the first four words that I read and the words that will stay in some corner of my subconscious forever. When my brother first suggested this book to me, I was sceptical as to whether to read it. As siblings, we are accustomed to not accepting anything that the other says right away. And it was no different this time as well. I did not want to try something that my brother suggested. But the curious mind in me overtook the scepticism and I headed to the library along with my brother to try out the book that my brother so earnestly recommended. The excitement of laying my hands on a new book and the unknown prospects it contains took me into a hold and I couldn’t wait to go home and fall into this new world that I held in my hands.
As soon as I reached home, I went straight to bed with the book in my hand, as I am most comfortable reading books lying down. I opened the book and read the first four words, that which at that point in time I didn’t know would remain as a part of my memory for years to come. I started getting pulled into and engrossed into the fantastical world of Harry, Ron and Hermoine. Even though I knew it was all a story, I couldn’t help but wonder ‘What if there really is a section of wizarding community?’ My daydreams started to include owl posts with the letter of acceptance into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, signed by Albus Dumbledore himself. The child in me was fascinated with the fantasy world of wands, spells, broomsticks and Quidditch, by the invisibility cloak and the house elves. The chocolate frogs and the magical creatures. I was soon reading the series with a fervour that scared my mother a little. I finished reading the third part – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in two days. I am still unsure whether I had my food those two days or not. It is still a blur.
When the sixth part was released, it coincided with my birthday month and it excited me almost to hysteria. I knew what I wanted for my birthday. But it cost Rs.600 and it was a pretty big amount of money to spend. I valiantly sacrificed the mandatory birthday dress and asked my father to buy that book for me. He offered to buy both, being the ever-doting father, but I said no. I need only the book. And on my birthday, I received the best gift ever – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. My joy knew no bounds. I was literally jumping up and down with the book in hand.
By the time the seventh part was released, I was in college. You would think I might have grown up and come out of it but no, the excitement never failed to cease. I finished reading the book as soon as I got it. The only time I slowed down a little was when I was about to finish the book and I was in a dilemma since I did not want to finish the series but I wanted to know how it ends. And when my curiosity got the better of me and I finished the book, the last of the series, I was filled with a sadness that lasted for quite some days. And once the last book was out and finished, I went back to re-reading the previous books again. If not all, whatever I had and could borrow from my friend who loved the series as much as I did, that one of our time passes between classes was listing out all the spells used in the series (Geeks, I know!).
9 years later, when I was all grown up and working as a software engineer for four years, I heard the news that there was a play based on the Harry Potter series and that it was going to be released as a book as well. And if you think I took the news like a mature adult, you are very much mistaken. I was at a point in life where I was emotionally down when the book was released. My father had just passed away after two months of extreme physical pain and struggle. The release of the book gave me something to distract myself and considering the circumstances, I did feel excited about it. Sensing my excitement about this, my friends at work gifted the book to me on my birthday, like how my father did for my 15th birthday. The book provided a sense of comfort and escape from reality for the two days that it lasted. And yeah, I started re-reading the sixth part.
The series has been with me all through my reading journey. I can definitely say it is my favourite series ever. While I was just fascinated with the magical world and the imaginations that it triggered when I was a child, as I grew older, I started realising the lessons it taught and it still teaches as I read it again. It has been with me, through my ups and downs, and it will always be with me as I get through the rest of my life. Always.