Magic. 20 years of it.

It seems a new world record has been set for the most people dressed as Harry Potter. Of all the strange things to set records for. But it only serves to prove what a phenomenon it has become. 

These children’s books, about magic, and wand waving wizards, of all things. Now an international sensation.
Well, I’ll tell you why.

Because they’re not just books that you thumb through and forget about.
They shaped the lives of millions of people.

We opened a book, an entire generation of children and adults alike, and found a story about an ordinary boy, who got an extra ordinary letter. Maybe he’s not so ordinary after all. 

He got a letter to go to Hogwarts, the greatest wizarding school in history, and we were all excited to go with him. A fresh eyed boy pushed into a whole new world. A magical one. 

He shops in an alley full of magical shops, he boards a train on a platform that isn’t supposed to exist, and he’s at Hogwarts. He’s finally home.

Where he learns not only about magic, but about friendship, loyalty, courage, bravery, a little bit of stupidity and sheer dumb luck. He beats a troll, becomes a quidditch legend, passed through a seemingly impossible puzzle set by the most intelligent witches and wizards in the country to meet He who must not be named. (He who must not be named being the invincibly powerful antagonist of our story, the most powerful dark wizard the world had seen)
And Harry prevailed.

An eleven year old boy, who does all these things not because he had extra ordinary powers, but because he wasn’t alone. 

Forget Newton’s laws and the Pythagorean theorem. For here we learned the rules of life.

That there are far more important things- friendship and bravery. 

Help will always be given to those who ask for it.

It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light. 

Love. Love is what makes the world go around. 

As we grew up with this eleven year old nothing special boy, we laughed and loved and made friends. We learnt how to fly and how to travel by Floo powder. We cast patronuses. We learnt to stand up to our fears (riddikulous, really). We learnt to be merciful, to be fair, to be generous. We learnt how to love people different from us, be they giants or elves, or a little cracked in the head.

He saved Ginny, rescued a hippogriff, freed his godfather of dementors, won a tournament, fought off death eaters, destroyed horcruxes and saved the world. Of course.

But he wasn’t a superhero. He wasn’t a god. He wasn’t special in any way. He just did it without giving up. Without losing hope.

He showed us by example that we could all achieve extra ordinary heights, because all you have to do is be the change. Be brave enough to believe You Know Who is out there, even when nobody else will. Because Harry Potter didn’t hide behind more powerful people, he got up and faced his destiny. 

We learnt big things and little things. The power of laughter. The beauty of a happy thought. The joy of breaking rules. The love of friends and family. That what mattered was not your face, but you. That you would be okay even if you turned into a monster once a month, because you had friends with you. The bitterness of misunderstanding. The loss of a misled youth. The pain of losing a loved one. 

This book was a landmark, because its influence was phenomenal. It held sway over generations. And at the core of it all, it was simple. 

The power of love and friendship. 

Because what else in the world matters really?

So today, as we cross 20 years of Harry Potter, we acknowledge one of the best things to happen to our childhood. 

Thank you, JKR. You gave us a place to go when we needed a little magic in our lives. And we always came back and woke up to the actual magic in ours.

And yes, you could ask, after all this time?

Always.

In summer

It’s the summer again. 

Somehow I can’t seem to muster up Olaf’s enthusiasm. 

But of course, that’s because I’m melting. 

Inane weather discussions aside, what’s the summer about for me?

Mangoes. For one thing. Single handedly make the summer worth it. 

And chilled grapes. Of course. Even with the recent curious experience of eating them with a long toothpick. Who eats grapes like that? Apparently a lot of people. 

Summer doesn’t seem to foster creativity though. I’ve been trying. Lots of laziness, fatigue, and apparently book reading. 

Part of my annual summer vacation treat this year, 

I’m finally reading A Brave New World, a birthday gift from my mother last year. 

Side note.

Every patient tells a story, my mother’s excellent choice for this year. Do try it. 

Mother’s day, of course. Of course.

Both my parent’s birthdays and their wedding anniversary fall in the summer. Much excitement and planning, for sure. 

Aside from all this and the regular excitement of just good old holidays- best part of the year- what else do we have?

Nostalgia, it seems. The heat and dust appear to be an emotional pair. 

Long summer vacations split between grandparent’s homes. Days playing traditional games such as pallanguli, nondi and cricket with a plastic bat. Estate picnics, lunch outside. Art classes- though I have no talent, I assure you. Lazy afternoons, brilliant food. Recently, much air conditioning. 

And most important of all, the books. So many books. My yearly allowance of one new book at landmark per year. Always a highlight. My mom’s books. My uncle’s books. My grandfather’s books. My books. Birthday presents. Books dug up from the outhouse. So many books. All kinds of them. 

Come summer and it was time to fly away on the wings of imagination. The faraway tree, The wishing chair, St. Claire’s, all Enid blyton classics. A lot of actual classics. Prince and the pauper, Tom Sawyer, Treasure island, Little women. And when I was older and stopped being stubborn and stupid, the magic of Harry Potter. Well, if we’re being chronological, it started with Cinderella, and Little red riding hood, but never mind. Some torturous Jane Austen, Wuthering heights, the one book I detest, because it was sad and evil- no offence to anybody. 

Growing up some more, classics some more, courtesy my mother. 

The prisoner of Zenda, the melodrama and misunderstanding of Gone with the wind. 

So many memories. Intertwined with all these books. Think summer and I think books, maybe outside, maybe inside, wherever I was. Think sunshine and that beloved book smell, heat and dust and the comfort of grandma’s cooking. 

Summers well spent, they were all. 

Do suggest more books for this one. 

Signing out. 

Thought nugget #1

This is just a long time, no see post. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy vegetating. Mindlessly working. So here is some mindful creativity. 

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.

.

Nope. I seem to have run out. 

It’s so important to me to be good at what I do. To be creative. Different. Not do the same thing everybody else is doing. 

And recently, I can’t remember from where, I came across the idea that we do certain things just because they’re difficult. We choose certain paths just because they are long and gruelling. As if that somehow increases the worth of what we do. As if it’s more virtuous to do the difficult thing just because it’s difficult. As if to be important and meaningful, it needs to be difficult. 

And it struck me so hard, because we’ve always always been taught to never take the easy way. Not to be lazy. Not to chose the path with less trouble just because it is. Why? Why do we have this obsession? How did we form this misconception and get it so deeply rooted?

We have no idea. But we do it all the time. For no reason at all. How foolish we are. 

The value is in how well we do what we do. Not solely in how hard it was to do it. 

So just for once, just a little bit, let’s take the easy way out. Life is difficult. We needn’t make it more so for ourselves. 

You are not the victim of the world. You are the master of your destiny.

-Kurt Vonnegut. 

I threw that last one in as a bonus cookie. Enjoy. 

Also, not advocating being lazy. Think about it and draw your own conclusions. 

Fledgling forays into poetry.

The world is a small place.
Of small minds, small proportions
And smaller horizons.

Archaic skeletons to hold youthful souls.
Twisted walls to confine soaring spirits,
And so an old world lives on in a new time.

Skies there are, to reach, to conquer,
The means, not so open.
Souls and skeletons. And the skies are left alone.

New flames, pure thoughts,
Flights of fancy, fester for the lack of fuel.
A soul of gigantic proportions is conceived,
And left to suffocate in a world too small to hold her brilliance.


An original.

A good day.

Its a good day. I’m happy. You know why? I’m on an adventure. I’m all settled in, soft bed, feet tucked in, and I’m going on an adventure. I open the book in my hand.

You know how, sometimes, it doesn’t take much to give you a boost through the day?
A smell that took you back ten years- you’re walking past the kitchens at your convent and there’s bread baking. There always is.
A sound that’s familiar. A half remembered voice in an unfamiliar world. Its a reassurance. A show of support. You can do it. You’ll make friends. It’s new, and it can be exciting, though it’s scary.
A feeling in the air. The sun shined just so. The air tasted just so. There was the smell of rain in the mud. It was a good day.
A sight that’s an echo. A half forgotten memory. A mother holding her daughter’s hand at the checkout line. Friends hugging after a match went well. There’s happiness in the air.
All it takes is a sound, a smell, a feeling. A coldness to the wind, a warmth to the sun, a breeze through the leaves, and you’re back, living your way through a good day, all over again.

Different people have different pick me ups. Things that give them a boost through the day. A cup of coffee in the morning. A kiss before you go out the door. A bar of chocolate. A hey, it’s a good day song. A sweaty workout. Well, whatever works. For me, it’s a book.

I don’t mean to say books are always a pick me up. They don’t always elevate my mood. But they’re my go to. At the end of the day, it’s what I want to do. You know why?

Because it’s pure magic. Its a couple hundred pages. Its black squiggles on a white background. And they make sense to me. They tell me a story. They make me laugh with a good joke. They make me cry with a mushy sentence. They make me feel, for characters that don’t exist, except in my brain, because, now, in my brain, they do. They soothe and they inspire. They make me sit up in the middle of the day and go, you know what, it’s a good day.

The feel of a book in my hand is like a ‘hi, nice to meet you!’. The smell of a good old book, is like an old friend saying hello. Opening it and getting lost, is like a good warm hug. Because, you know its been a good day.

Choices:

So today’s post is a permitted rant.
About the future, and what makes me worry about above said future.
I’m 17 years old, and am at that point in life where everybody makes mistakes. About education, love, friends and family. (Bleh, I agree, but it’s the truth.)
Where ties are broken and new bonds are created. Where you realize that nothing that you actually deserve happens to you, and yes, it is unfair, but sadly, we don’t have a choice but to deal with it.
Without going into details (because, 1. They would bore you, and 2. I’m kind of concerned about my safety), I’ll tell you where I am (figuratively, of course.) I was a good student at school, academically and otherwise. All my life, I was destined to become a doctor. (1. It sounds like something from a cheesy Indian movie, but it’s not, and 2. I forgot what this point was because my Daschund nearly battering-rammed into my room, so I had to go let her in.)
Anyway, now that I have finished my schooling (did I not mention that I had?), and because of a strange turn of events, I stand at a point where I could (fight my way through and) choose not to become a doctor. I’m basically at an existential crisis! (Yes. I exaggerate. It’s part of the job description.) 

This choice, could change many things.

I spent 17 years groomed to be a doctor and now I want to try my hand, at, say, journalism! I would love to do something amazing and cool but still end up learning. Apart from the fact that I love writing. And reading. And so many other things.

So, my question is, what do I choose? 

Do I keep my good grades, become a doctor, work everyday and save lives and live with the satisfaction of having helped somebody else (but not always myself), 

OR

Do I study journalism, and then remember my love for physics, and history, and study those subjects too, travel around the world, open up a dog farm, grow old and happy, happy that I made myself happy?

So what do you choose? 

The road not taken, or the road you don’t have a choice but to take?

(Wow. I just answered my own question, didn’t I?)

And through my looking glass, I see…

Well, a green wall. But that’s not the point. I’ve been sitting here, for an hour. Dreaming. To be accurate, day dreaming. Shall we say, lost in my own world, so I don’t feel so lazy. Outwardly, I’m just sitting here. But boy, is that a deception. My mind is whizzing  past everything around me. My mind, is on the future. To be mysterious, my mind is where even I cannot go. Until tomorrow, at the very least.

So what is it that has me in this peculiar – but very comfortable, mind- mood? I, am looking forward. I’m looking forward – to lunch, for one thing. But also, next Sunday. Next Sunday, my life will be completely different. No exams to look at on my timetable and worry about. No me with an inner monologue, because I’ll have better things to do. No more dragging myself out of bed in the morning for college, because hurray, the holidays are here. Now I feel, very justifiably, that this requires more emphasis.

My holidays. Glorious days off, when I can go home. Be with my family. When I can have good food. When I can study only if I want to. Ha. As if. Where I can wear clothes that are more suitable for the heat than my three piece churidhar with a white coat. Those white coats. Lip curl. Made for baking in the Chennai heat. Next Sunday, I’ll be looking forward to above described heaven.

Speaking of looking forward, Mangoes. Yes. Capitalised. They’re the only reason I think of summer without an accompanying murderous grunt. A very tired grunt, mind. This heat saps the life out of you. All I want to do, is curl up and hibernate. What’s it called in summer again?

Believe me, if you think of a summer in India in terms of all the life and colours and exotic fruit? You’re in for disillusionment. Its hot. Its dry. Its dusty. And its sticky. No heavenly light summer showers for you. There are days my book sticks to my hand when I’m studying. I’m throwing in Chennai humidity, which will account for this and a hundred other infuriating things. I can’t say anything negative about the fruit, though. Grapes and mangoes, absolutely.

Look at me, reduced to talking about the weather. Hi, nice to meet you. We’re currently making small talk, you and I.