An Open Letter to J.K. Rowling

Dear J.K. Rowling,

I probably discovered Harry Potter when I was all of 11. The same age that Harry was, when he received his letter. The one that took him from a mundane, meaningless existence into a world where he became the writer of his tale – a hero, a winner, and a character that generations of readers would admire and come to love as their own. Call it the innocence of childhood, but that summer, it wasn’t just Harry who embarked on a life-changing journey. With him, I did, too. I too, went to Platform 9 and 3/4, boarded the Hogwarts Express and went to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, an adventure that would eventually serve as my getaway whenever I wanted a break from life. A would where I learned about magic, and friendship, and many other life-lessons. Like Harry, I too experienced an entire roller-coaster ride of emotions. I remember doing a victory dance when Harry won his first Quidditch match. Crying my eyes out when Sirius Black died, mourning the loss of the only family Harry had even known. Feeling the same fuzzy warmth, during the times Harry spent with Ron and Hermione, connected with that thread of emotion that makes friends, family.

I could potentially go on and on and on. Yet this would all take me to the same conclusion.My childhood would have never been the same without Harry Potter. My muggle friends would often laugh, even tease me at what they mistook as some absurd level of fandom. But only I knew that this wasn’t a temporary fad association. Rather one that would continue all the way up to adulthood, only to make me realise how Harry Potter was so much than a character. It was an entire universe of life lessons and experiences packed into a series of stories. One I know I’ll take with me to my grave.

As a reader I reveled in the bliss of the twists and turns of tales. As a writer and a woman, I learned that when a great story and a woman full of dream, passion, and resilience come together, they truly do create magic. I’ve been told that when you started writing the series, you were broke, starving and homeless. And maybe that’s why I can’t help but marvel even more at how you were able to create an entire universe from scratch, guided by nothing, but hope and a pen. I’ve even been told that you were rejected by many, many publishers before one decided to take a chance on you, and my heart skips a beat even to imagine what the world would’ve lost, had you given up on your dream midway.

As a reader, writer and storyteller, I can only aspire, to somehow half-replicate your success. But I know, that in a world where your story stand tall as an example of what one can achieve, should they choose to relentlessly follow their passion. I’ll always have big shoes to fill.

Thank you, for giving us, the Boy Who lived.

With love,

A Lifelong Potter Fan

 

A letter to Hermione Granger

Dear Hermione,

After over two entire decades of knowing, admiring and wanting to emulate you, I finally pen down this letter to you.

I first discovered you when I was all of twelve years old. An age where I was still finding myself. I’d always been an extroverted, curious and over-imaginative child. One for whom being in control of situations came to, very naturally. Yet, some part of me always tried to validate the my inherent confidence, my sense of independence, my longing for adventure. In my world of conformists, I was the one whose heart desired the road not taken. The offbeat path. And for silent rebels like me, we were more likely to find critics rather than cheerleaders.

And then I met you.

You taught me that being a nerd, as opposed to stereotype, is a wonderful thing. That curiosity and a passion for learning can take you places. That a yearning for knowledge is a virtue few are endowed with, and the ones who do make use of their potential, are true game-changers. However, what you also taught me, was that it was equally important to apply the knowledge to good use, at the apt time. Whether it was remembering to use that spell you learned in class in a time of crisis, or making Polyjuice potion from scratch or remembering that phoenix tears were actually healing powers, I wonder how Harry and Ron would’ve ever managed without you. If Harry was the brave heart, and Ron the soul, you were undebatedly the brain in the trio. Like cogs of a wheel that were always made to fit together.

From you I learned, to be a strong woman. One who wasn’t afraid to stand up for her rights, her thoughts and her opinions. You taught me that activism is a good thing. Even when Malfoy derided you by calling you a mud blood, you didn’t flinch. Or explain yourself. Not because it didn’t affect you. But because your self-respect and dignity didn’t allow you to have to justify yourself to someone who clearly was way beneath you as far as thinking was concerned. Not to mention anyone who accused you of not being a true witch didn’t stand a chance against you in class.

However, above everything else, I learned from you. The value of friendship. Of standing up for your friends when they need you. Of being their rock. Of believing in their vision. Supporting them with your abilities, and sometimes, just with your presence. Maybe that’s why even when Ron left Harry momentarily, you didn’t.

I could possibly go on. Yet, I’ll conclude by saying that I’m so grateful I met you, and learnt from you, in my childhood, invaluable lessons I know I will carry way through to womanhood.

Love,

Your childhood fan-girl-reader

 

Life lessons from Sitcom characters

In the days of the mighty old idiot box (a.k.a. the Television), sitcoms were created as a means of entertainment. A pre Netflix and Hulu era. And it was in those days, I fell in love with the art of binge-watching the sitcom.

Even though one watched them as a way to take a break from life, over time, their characters became parts of your lives. From the sense of fashion to their quirks, I’ve had an entire gamut of female sitcom characters I grew to love and closely identify with, and ones who ended up teaching me invaluable life lessons.

Here’s my list:

  1. serena-van-der-woodsenSerena van der Woodsen (Gossip Girl) : Your uniqueness, right from your sense of fashion to your life choices, is one to be celebrated. Every single life experience  – good, bad, ugly, pleasant is worth it. for it gives you stories to tell, when you’re older. Never let your past ever haunt your present. It’s okay to make mistakes, after all, isn’t that what being young is all about? Be bold, unapologetic, and follow your passions. Oh and in the end, marry for love and love only.

RG2

2. Rachel Greene (F.R.I.E.N.D.S) : Listen to your heart. Even if that means being a runaway bride, rooming in with your high school bestie, and falling in love with your high school crush all over again. Work your way up to the top, even if you’re Daddy’s rich spoilt girl. And it’s all right to wear your heart on your sleeve, and be emotional, and be vulnerable. But it’s the girls that listen to their feelings that get off that plane.

 

 

3. RSRobin Scherbatsky (How I Met Your Mother): What is life without a spirit of adventure? Be a fierce lady with ambition, for women who like scotches that are old enough to order their own scotches will never go out of style.Be unapologetic about your decisions and your choices. Whether it means leaving your home country to settle down in another, taking endless trips around the globe, and even living with five dogs. Yet, be very proud of where you come from.

 

peggy

4. Peggy Olsen (Mad Men)  : Women with talent, and ones that aren’t afraid to showcase them, are the best of them all. Coiffed hair, straightened skirts, and the perfect pout may be able to open doors, yet it is the woman with grit and capability that will get to stay in the room. Abilities trump appearances, always. The dark horse wins every race. Never, ever judge a book by its cover.

 

 

 

5. HGHermione Granger (Harry Potter series): Nothing is sexier than a woman with brains. And even sexier, is one who knows when and how to use them at the right time. When you find them, stead of labelling them as bossy, nerdy or geeky, hold on to them. Such women are lifesavers. And true friends.

The Life & Lies of Harry Potter

At the age of 13, I fell in love. True, serious love.

No drop-dead gorgeous hunk, but a shy, demure boy next door. Dreamy, introvert, but with his own unique charm. A thin frame ever more prominent thanks to his oversized clothes, glasses and scruffy hair, quite average looking, otherwise, but what made him so different from anyone else were his shiny green eyes, and a scar shaped like lightning, right across his forehead. His name was Harry. Harry Potter,

When I first met him, I barely knew the impact he’d have on my life. I wasn’t sure if I’d really like him, but the more I got to know him and his world, the more I found him irresistible. Harry and I grew up together. When he faced triumph, I celebrated for him. When he felt pain, I grieved with him. And over the seven long years that I got to know him, there wasn’t a single emotion I hadn’t experienced with him.

And I’m certain that the affair would’ve continued, if only he weren’t a character in a book.

Created by JK Rowling , Harry Potter could have possibly been another fictional, magical character. Except that he wasn’t. True, he was a wizard, and he went to Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, where he learnt to fly on brooms, transform toads into cats and what-nots, and . His magical make-believe world, the catchy jargon (Quidditch, ButterBeer, Hogsmeade, and my favourite – Muggle!) and the fantasy might have been the initial fascination that drew readers in, but that’s not what kept us coming back for more, devouring book after book, and clamouring for more.

What made us all ardent fans of Harry and his world were the ease with which we felt as if we were a part of it. How every summer, we were the ones boarding the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 3/4, learning Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Defence against the Dark Arts and all other ‘magical’ subjects, and dining in the Great Hall, living in the house dormitories, and belonging to one of the houses – Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. We felt as if we knew Harry inside-out, as if he lived with us. But besides everything else, we loved the books because of every single thing they taught us, about life.

Which is why I firmly believe every person, irrespective of age, place and choice of reading must read Harry Potter. Because sugar-coated in the form of fantasy – lie multiple lessons of life to be learnt. The value of good friends, who choose to stand by you, when no-one else does. The magic of smiling in the face of adversity. The courage of standing up for someone and something you truly believe in. The power of unselfish love, trust, loyalty and sacrifice. And above all, to not judge anything or anyone, for nothing truly is as it seems, especially where the greater good is concerned.

I’ve been a bookworm since I was a kid, and every good book I’ve read till date has taught me something. But few have had the deep-seated impact that doesn’t go easily. For after reading all the books almost countless times, followed by endless marathon-sessions of the movies, I’m sure of one thing. That the long seven year journey, right from the beginning when the magical world celebrated the birth of Harry Potter to the moment where Harry bid his son farewell as he left for Hogwarts for the first time, with everything in between, will stay with me for a while.