“After all this time?”
That’s what one of my friends asked me this Sunday after I posted a picture of my brand new collection of Harry Potter series to celebrate its 20 years anniversary. I couldn’t say “always” in reply as I didn’t read any book from the series until recently. “But better late than never”, I replied.
Would you believe I finally started reading Harry Potter series just this January? And finished it in 20 days. All 7 books. When I started reading the first book I was already scheduled for a trip. I took the iPad with me loaded with all the 7 books. I even read while I was traveling by train. I read at night till dawn even when I was supposed to wake up in the morning. I read while waiting for the train. I read while I was visiting my relatives.
I couldn’t wait to get back to the story every night. The whole day I would be trekking in Uttarakhand or traveling from one city to other and return to my resting place tired and sleepy. But the moment I would hit the bed I would start reading. I even read while I was suffering from fever, cough, and cold which I caught from drastic weather change during the trip. I was that hooked. Any Potterhead would know the feeling. Then I watched all the eight movies one after another.
Let me tell you why it took me so many years. I was introduced to this magical world for the first time through the first movie when it came on Star Movies one night. I liked that movie but had no idea it was already a famous fiction series. None of my friends read English books let alone reading Harry Potter. Most of them didn’t even read book at all. So there was basically no one to put some sense in me, you see? I watched 2nd and 4th movies skipping the 3rd one on TV when I could while forgetting half of the things from the previous movies. So basically I wasn’t understanding what was it all about.
Then I watched the 5th one on big screen. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Then I gave up. I thought it wasn’t for me. I never watched the rest of the movies again. I saw the thick sparkly books at bookshops and the prices were outrageous for me at that time. And I couldn’t imagine myself reading all those bulky seven books in my lifetime even though I am a book lover. So I told myself I am never going to read or watch all these ever. “These are for children”, I told myself even though I read children books all the time.
Then I met Potterheads. Watched them around me. Slowly I started feeling jealous of them bonding over some dialogues or trivia which I hardly understood. I started feeling left alone. I grew curious. Then finally I took my chance. And boy, would I ever regret? Yes, I would. I regret missing out on this for so many years. Had I been reading these books during my teen days I could have fallen in love with one of the characters (read Fred) without knowing whether he was going to die or live in the future. I could have waited eagerly for the next book to come. But I missed all these little joys from happening. How sad!
I cried buckets for each and every death. I am still mourning. “She has finally arrived.”, one of my friends said this when I declared that I finally finished reading the series and I don’t know what to do with my life anymore.
I seriously don’t know what I am going to do with my life after this instead of re-reading these books and reliving the life at Hogwarts over and over again. These books taught me a lot. It echoes almost everything I believe. I think I have finally found a fictitious world where I feel at home. Where I can hide every time whenever I start feeling uncomfortable with this real world around me. Where I can seek the answers which I always look for in this real world. It has its share of sorrow, pain, anger, and all the negative elements of human world but it has countless of good things too which are so reassuring.
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I think I am going to be a Potterhead now. “Always”.