The Boy Who Lives

*This is not a Beauty Post*

It started one muggy February morning in 2001. I sat in my room, trying to study for my first year B.Sc annual exams. Typical of me, I had left everything for the last moment. I was bored, unable to concentrate. Lying at some distance from me was this book my younger sister had been obsessing about. She had been after Dad to get the fourth book as well.

What was this book? It had a really stupid cover - some boy with a sqiggle on his head standing in front of an engine looking at it as if he's never seen a train. On the backcover was this predictable image of a wizard - purple robes, check; long beard, check;

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, I read on the backcover. Now that's one place I'd like to go, rather than study this stupid botany, I thought.

I decided it was time for a break, I'd read the first few pages.

I put down the book after 3 hours. I had raced through it, I couldn't put it down! It was addictive. It had cast some spell on me. I *had* to read the next book now.

But I had a botany paper the next day!! & I had studied zilch since morning. It was afternoon already.

I made a compromise. For every chapter I would study in Botany I would allow myself to read one chapter from the Chamber of Secrets.

As you can guess, it didn't work out. Impulsive as I am when it comes to makeup, I am a fiend about books. No one can pull me away from a good read. And this here was a read of a lifetime. I raced through the second book as well, finishing it some time during the night.

I went for the exam next morning, having studied 2 out of the total 18 chapters we had. My best friend Sangeeta panicked when I told her about it. (I was cool as a cucumber for some reason - maybe someone had slipped me some Felix Felicis) She grabbed me & started to revise all the other chapters with me as fast as she could. (Thanks Sango!!)

The rest of my exams were a blur. I finished the Azakaban one before my Microbiology paper & I remember sneaking the Goblet of Fire and reading it a day before my Chemistry exam.

Once the exams were over I allowed myself a more leisurely re-reading. I was recommending this book to all & sundry by then. Some took the suggestion & I spent hours discussing each & every character with them.

Snape & Lily, Petunia lurks behind
There was the anticipation before each book release, the mad scramble to get a copy. The fight between the temptation to devour the book the moment it released to reading it slowly & enjoying every bit - extend the pleasure for alap. (as long as possible).

I got to know my hubby, then classmate over the series. That is how our friendship started. The sixth book had just released, I had read it & was convinced that Harry was an Horcrux. I had a long discussion with him about my theory. He didn't agree, but we became friends from being just classmates. (On a side note, I told a lot of people about my theory - that Harry was a Horcrux. I gave evidence like the prophecy - neither can die, while the other survives, to the parselmouth thingie, & lots more. No one believed. Guess who's having the last laugh. Hahahaha!)

The movies had begun by then. I remember I had tears in my eyes when the first movie started, I could not believe that it was playing out in front of my eyes. This was followed by the long discussion on:

"Hey! That's not how it happened in the book!!"

"They left that scene out :-("

The movies were never as good as the books, but they weren't bad either. They were like visual summaries, for us fans. Whenever we wanted to revisit the series but didn't have the time.

When I finished the HBP I was devastated, I felt like Snape had personally betrayed me. How many times had I taken his side during a discussion repeating "If Dumbly believes in him, I do too!". I was in a daze for a week.

The Kings's Cross 9 & 3/4
I still remember the day I finished Deathly Hallows. I felt so vacant, empty inside. It was all over. What would we do now? There was nothing to look forward to. It kind of felt like a best friend had died, and all we were left with were the memories. And we didn't even have a pensive to re-live them in.

After a month I came around. The movies were there, right. We would watch them, We would wait for them. And now those are done too.

There is a terrible ache inside of me. There are so many memories of good times that I have spent over the last decade with Harry. What do I fill that gap with now? I have in the interim tried a couple of books (Inheritance Trilogy, LOTR, a couple more that are even worse) from the same genre, in the hope that one of them will provide at least some solace. None have been able to. I am feeling very sad right now, I need some time to get some closure & come to terms with it.
"Always" said Snape

Of course Harry still is the boy who lived. He still lives on whenever I pick up a book to read again. I have turned to these books during all times, stressful times, happy times, bored times & even depressed times. The book has been a source of comfort & solace in a lot of ways.

J K Rowling - Thank you for everything. I owe my teenage memories to you. Thank you, may god bless you for all the magic you have bought in our lives, they are richer thanks to you. As an incentive I'll give you my entire collection of makeup if you promise to write again. 

You don't read Harry Potter to escape, you read Harry Potter to find your way. 

P.S.: in case you were wondering, I did pretty well on my Botany exam - I scored some 90%, Chemistry - 85% & I topped the class in Microbiology & also won a scholarship that year. I still don't know how I did it. I'm guessing it was the Felix or else I must have regurgitated HP on those answer sheets. Even the professors must have been spell-bound. 


  1. What a great post-its been a decade and yet the magic of Rowling's pen continues to leave us spellbound. God bless her for all the joy she brought to millions of Muggles around the world with a her tales of witches & wizards :)

  2. Tanz tum to toppers types nikali :P

    i so enjoyed reading the post.HP series is certainly not the end..This is the only time when I have not revised my previous HP movies before going for the new one..may be because i think that there is more to come :)

  3. @Anamika: I always re-read the book before going for a movie.. I did so this time also, & I was again crying through the chapter "The Prince's Tale".. Aare, haan yaar I wld somehow manage to do well. Don't have a clue how.. I was extremely laid back & wld study after the 11th hour in fact :P

  4. @IBC: I know! I hope she writes again.. it need not be about HP, I wish she'd write something. She has a gift, she knows how to tell a story.

  5. Oh God Tanz... I could have sworn those are my thoughts.... the emptiness, the despair... the sense of loss... to this day, whenever i visit mum's place.. a reading of HBP and TDH is mandatory... the visit seems incomplete without it...

    i lovvvvved reading this piece... *hugs*

  6. i havent even watched the movies tanz cuz i dont want them to spoil the books for me(though i have heard that the movies are nice too, in this case). where did you get these pics, i love them!!

  7. amazing post. really nice to include things about the book and ur own personal connection to it. I know that a lot of ppl would kill me if i say that am not a harry potter fan :D actually i kinda hate it(ok dont kill me now)lol. my sis is a huge fan and she loves it to death. I am not much of a fantasy book reader but somehow I have started reading the mortal instruments series. pretty ok.

  8. Beautiful writing made me sniff sniff! Your love for HP books are evident in your writing. But JK Rowling also said, " He is my baby, I will play with him whenever I want". So fingers crossed. And I agree, the movies can never beat the details and the magic of the books.

  9. Am glad you and P connected over HP. My husband pretended not to know me when I dragged him to the launch party of OotP. Sigh. That was the best party ever. People dressed like HP characters. Tattoo stalls where I might or might not have got the lightning scar done. Glasses for everyone who came. Kids offering five bucks if someone would let them take their place in the line for buying the book. People wondering who was gonna die. I was in line at eight in the night till 12 when they started selling the book. * sigh * Good times. I still am clinging to one line Rowling said during the premiere of this movie. "Never say Never. Hope she writes again :)

  10. @Pandora: I hope she writes again.. I love the series. Let's hope for the best :)

    @IMW: You hate HP!! Off with her Head! LOL! JK.. Obviously not everyone will love it.. I hated the Twilight series for example. Lots of girls love it, but I just find it stupid. :P

    @Ginger: Yea, the books are def. better. Do read them if you get the chance :D.. These pics are frm a google search :D

    @Anks *Hugs Back* Potterfan! You know right, what I am talking about.. It all feel so weird - like some joy ride has ended & I have been plonked back to reality. :(

  11. Awwww you really do love HP
    I started off with ridiculing it Harry potter? A book about Magic? Hello, i am 16 years old, i dont want to read that!

    But now, i am a potter maniac...i want to cry because the movie is the last we will see of him

  12. OMG tanveer,this is such a wow post ,sucha mirror to my thoughts....i love love love harry potter and vrought andread the entire seies ie from book 3 to the last one when i had just delivered my elder one....(i had the previous two) on the pretext of buying the copies as a keepsake for my son who for gods sake was just born!!!!:)
    i have 'revised 'them so may times since then ....

  13. GR8 post Tanveer :D even I had similar xperience wit HP books :P they are 1 of a kind and I am gonna miss HP mania :|

  14. dnt kill even m not a potter fan :/

  15. how beautifully you've put down your feelings. in my mind, i would always push back the day the last book and then the last movie would come out, but that time has come now.. i'll never stop re-reading/watching the series..

  16. great post T.. i share the exact same feelings bout HP as you.. thanks a lot for introducing me to the book.. i guess u remember u were the one who told me bout the series..the books were truly more of a companion in our teenage years and i can recall all our endless meetings and atleast 3-4 hours of discussion each time on the books..

  17. I HAD to post a comment on this one (and it will be long)! This is such a wonderful post expressing everything that HP fans are experiencing right now. I remember the day I finished the seventh book, I felt that my childhood had truly ended (I was 19 then and had started reading HP at 12). And I'm postponing watching the last movie because it somehow feels that I'll truly have to grow up (and also end the reckless behaviour that I tend to indulge in).

    I LOVED this: You don't read Harry Potter to escape, you read Harry Potter to find your way. I think 90% of my personal morals and beliefs come from Dumbledore's and Harry's convictions. If times are tough, I sometimes even think of Harry and what all he had to endure at the hands of the Ministry. :P And Snape! THAT was courage. Good grief. I have to go and read some favourite chapters from the series. Now.

  18. wonderful post.... i still remember reading the deathly hallows the evening before my GRE. It was my excuse to read something other than study books to come across new words!!
    Reading it works like a charm for all the tough times to come :)

  19. :) Hey thanks for the mention! HP is pure magic in fiction. I bunked a day at work when the last book arrived, simply because I couldn't physically pry myself away from it. The books are known to bewitch! Well written T.

  20. Oh this such a gr8 post...loved reading it!....ya will miss Harry like a lost friend ....hope J.K. Rowling brings him back...or...might not...but something through Albus Severus Potter maybe....


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