The first time I read a book from the ‘Harry Potter ‘ series was in 2000. I was 11 and my Mom, having read a lot of praise for JKR, asked me to try it out and see if I liked it. THAT was my tryst with the magical world that consumed me for more than a decade.
Like many other people from around the globe, I can say that my friends and I grew up with Harry and his friends. I was glued to the books and websites, knew the spells by heart, imagined meeting the fantastic beasts, secretly wished to get the Time Turner and Invisibility cloak, named my to-be owl as Herald and often thought about how I would use the Veritaserum, truth potion.
Talking about my imaginary white pet –Herald: after I signed up at Hogwarts through an enchanting website (the name of which I don’t exactly remember now),bought my wand at Ollivander’s , robes from Madam Malkin’s and selected my pet, I somehow hoped that one fine day, a white owl would come deliver the special,sealed envelope for me and THEN I would be off to Hogwarts! When a family of owls was seen just outside my balcony, I was jumping in excitement and was so sure that they were there for me. Only that the real letter never arrived.
Though disheartened for a while, yet my teenage self continued to dig deeper into the world of Quidditch, legendary wizards, Animaguses,flying cars and broomsticks and inculcated a stronger sense of creativity (not to forget: wilder imagination) all along.When I went to college and found somebody(one of my best friends now) with the same thoughts and how she still liked to believe that her letter got misplaced somehow, my joy knew no bounds!
It has been 13 years since I read the first book, but I still feel the excitement and curiosity that I had, as a child. As I grew older, this fetish for fantasy did not diminish at all. Infact, I think it grew stronger and stronger. Yes, my 18-year old self did queue up at 6:30 am on 21/7/07 at Landmark to buy the last book of the series ON the day of its release. And then, four years later, I went to watch the final movie early in the morning with my equally excited friends from college, since we did not want to wait any longer.
Ah!I am so glad that I bought that first book on my Mom’s suggestion, so glad that I had such fantastic friends in school who were so absorbed into the world of witches and wizards that they openly stated one of their ambitions as ‘becoming a witch’ in people’s slam books, so glad that we did not stop reading/watching/discussing Potter issues even though some people felt that it was only for kids and not for adults! Hang on! If you have not read these books or missed watching the movies (though watching without reading the books is never a good idea), you have really missed out on a BIG experience.
There is really no age for losing yourself into Fantasy, even if you are an otherwise practical,busy and matured person. And, it is never too late to begin 😛
For all those years of excitement and the pure joy of reading, for giving millions of kids around the world the same obsession, for helping us let our imagination run wild and understand life better, here’s a toast to J.K. Rowling on her (and Harry’s) birthday. Thank you Joanne, a billion times over.