I have not had come across a single human soul (apart from my husband) who did not ask me this question: “What’s the big deal about Harry Potter? It’s just like any other fictional work.” I do not blame them. I categorize these people in the same way J K Rowling did: Muggles. People who do not understand magic.
I was a late Harry Potter fan. If you have noticed the title, it’s been a decade of Harry Potter love. Yes! A decade, and (sadly) not two.
My first association with the HP world dates back to the time when my father bought us a computer. Year 2007. And the first book came out in the year 1997. Imagine my desolation!
I was seven years old at that time (1997) with practically no scope of having the pleasure of reading something that was not my course book. In fact, as I recall now, I studied in a Hindi medium school at that time. So there was absolutely no way I could write, read or speak in the so-called language-of-the-affluent: English
Coming from a humble middle class family, we felt grateful for whatever our parents could do to raise us as good citizens. So, unlike other children, who got their hands on the Harry Potter book as gifts or bought them as and when they were launched, I only dreamed about lending one from a well-to-do friend.*
Back then, we had got our hands on the CD of the Goblet of Fire movie. The movie had released back in 2005. I saw the whole movie tongue-tied. Partly because this was our first connection to the digital world and partly because the movie was wonderfully directed.
After watching the movie, I was stuck in the Hogwarts fandom. I decided to read the book. But I obviously couldn’t purchase it. So I scoured my school library. And I found! (The reason why I love libraries.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
That particular paperback edition was some 600 pages; a thick tattered book with torn pages. The whole school has already read it, I thought. I read that book with utmost sincerity and affection. Before I went to school, after I came from school, while I ate my lunch, before I slept and after I woke up. I managed to finish it within two weeks; the library attendant wouldn’t let me keep the book for more than that fixed duration.
After the year 2007, I went back and read all the published books from the Harry Potter series. When I look back now, I feel as if I had drank the love potion; I inhaled and exhaled the story, so much so that I managed to drag my brother into the HP world.
Now we were together in this. We did not study, we did not play, we only wished to borrow a HP book from somewhere or someone.
My parents continuously scolded me for bringing more madness into the house. At that stage of my life, I was potentially capable of turning any reader into a Potter-head. While our mother slept in the afternoon, I and my brother wore bed-sheets as capes and practiced spells. When our mother went out to buy grocery, we would take turns to sit on broomstick and ‘fly’. On days when we fought each other, we would utter ‘Crucio’ and ‘Avada kedavra’. Gross, I know!
The only thing I regretted? Not being an actual witch. How I wished I had received a letter from Hogwarts, just like Hermoine did.
Fast forward to 2017. I got married and even before taking the seven vows, I asked my husband to promise me that he will read all the seven Harry Potter books.
I wanted him to live that connection, share the bond, know why I adore this story. And would you believe it if I tell you that he is already on book six?! And now I have to snatch the book out of his hand!
The only reason I love Harry Potter is because the story filled my life with magic. And hope.
I was afraid of people. I despised anyone who wanted to do small-talk with me. I wished they would just vanish. But after I started reading Harry Potter, I could talk to people about it; I could speak confidently when I told them why I love the love the books; and I could write at length why Harry Potter holds so much importance in my life.
To make things interesting, I give you my list of why I think Harry Potter holds importance in my life. Read them in no particular order. Everything is just, everything is equal.
Magic is for real
Fairies are for real. So is Santa. I feel life without magic will be boring. After all we all need a little sparkle in our life. I am filled with joy when I hear the word “Magic”. It makes me feel safe. It makes me believe that even after dreadful days, there is hope for a happy ending. It makes me believe that even if you loose something, another thing will be at place to embrace you.
The bridge that J K Rowling has created with the ‘muggle’ world makes the story just so real. She could have done away by creating her own world: a school of magic, castles, brooms in the air. But she gave us, non-magical people, due importance. And she showed that not everything can be sorted with some swooshes in the air with a wand—not gonna happen here, babe! We all are humans with souls for her before we are divided as muggles and wizards.
To love and friendship
Harry Potter, in the hindsight, is an ode to love & friendship. I love this quote from Dumbledore: “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” J K Rowling does it again and again with frequent reminders about the importance of friends in life. What else could be more real?
All said and done, my favorite of all moments of the story are when I read about Harry and his friends struggling with homework, how they dread exams, how they tackle irritating teachers (Ugh. That bad witch Umbridge!), how they try to score points for their house, and the fight they put up to make Hogwarts a safe place for everyone. Oh boy.
To me, Harry Potter is real. Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Dumbledore, Ron, Luna, Minerva McGonagall—everyone is real. Perhaps everyone has their own umpteen number of reasons to love Harry Potter, but mine is just MAGIC. And while there are numerous fictional works that talk about magic, Rowling’s Harry Potter wins because there is more soul in the story’s magic than the magic itself.
My fondness for the magical world of Hogwarts and Harry Potter grew further when earlier this year I saw Emma Watson dropping books on the New York Subway. I know that she is an amazing witch, but with that she became a charming book fairy for me.
I followed her trail and I stumbled upon this amazing movement- Books On The Move Global. The idea behind this movement is to get people to read on their daily commute.
And now, here I am, kicking off the Delhi (India’s first) branch- Books On The Delhi Metro. This has made my love for Harry Potter more deep and profound. ❤
*I finally managed to befriend a rich guy who gifted me the Harry Potter book set on my 23rd birthday.
Images: Shruti Sharma
[This guest post has been written by Shruti Sharma. She lives in Delhi with her newbie Potterhead husband. Shruti is an engineer by education but a storyteller by profession. She likes to giggle a lot and curl up with her favorite book on rainy days. When she is not doing any of the above, she is running to drop books on the Delhi metro.]