Category Archives: School and college life

Re-reading Philosopher’s Stone

If you know of me, chances are you know me as a Potterhead. I’ve obviously read (and watched) the books at least 10 times. I also make it a point to read at least one of the books twice a year. And I do all of the fandom activities- online forums, podcasts, you name it. But this post isn’t about my obsession (is it?).

The first time I read the books, I was eleven years old. It’s been eleven years since. That means half of my life, I’ve been a Potterhead. (Should I be worried that that’s my identity for many?) And obviously the way I engage with the books is different each time. The last time I read Deathly Hallows, for example, I cried when Harry thought about the relationship between his parents, Sirius, and Ron and Hermione, if his parents and Sirius were alive. It was such a small detail- probably a line, or an opening paragraph. The first time I read Deathly Hallows, I cried about how beautiful Snape and Lily’s relationship was. Now I dislike Snape, and I realise just how creepy and nasty he is.

That’s the thing right? When I first read it, I was perhaps twelve, or thirteen years old. I thought that if you did something for love, it was okay. That Snape, a thirty year old man, is fighting for the good because of his childhood friend/crush/love. But now I realise that that’s utter bullshit. If Lily weren’t dead, he’d be a Death Eater till the end of the day. Did he really need someone who he claims to love (yuck) to die to realise killing people is not a good thing? 

I’m reading Harry Potter again, and I’m realising newer and newer things. I also can’t help seeing the parallels between the politics of certain countries and the Wizarding World. I definitely know a political leader who is like Gilderoy Lockhart. I know enough pure blood fanatics like Lucius Malfoy. I somehow do not know Umbriges, but probably don’t know enough politics. But I do not Crabbe’s and Goyles.

I’ve often been surrounded by Draco Malfoy lovers. But I really don’t get why he’s so great. In Philosopher’s Stone he literally bullies Harry for not having parents! I mean come on! His pure-blood mania is literally like any fascist “You do not belong here” ideology. And please don’t give me the “family” explanation, because a. Tonks. b. Sirius Black. 

On a lighter note, there are things that I never before noticed that I appreciate now. For example, Rowling is hilarious! I’ve startled my parents laughing out loud at certain parts. Now that I’ve seen brilliant screen adaptations (hello, The Handmaid’s Tale), I’m also realising how shitty the movies are. I’m not saying those who have only seen the movies are not real enough fans. But they definitely are missing out on the essence of the canon. It’s like plot, like a brick structure, but it’s not your story, and will never be home. If you don’t have time, just listen to the audio book! It’s equally good! 

I guess I’ll always come back to Harry Potter in the end. No matter how old I am. No matter how demystified by some characters I get. I’ll always pick up Prisoner of Azkaban every time I’m in a reading slump. I’ll always read and reread Marauders and Next Gen fanfiction, because canon isn’t enough (no The Cursed Child doesn’t count as Canon). I’ll always be ‘that Potter girl’.

More than anything else, I feel like I’m rediscovering magic, as I read Philosopher’s Stone again. The awfulness of Dursleys to the beauty of Hagrid. I want to ride the scarlet train from platform nine and three quarters home. Hogwarts has always been there to welcome me home. (I know I’m being sappy, and using intertextuality, but every bit of it is magic).

 You’d think that after more than a decade, I’d bore of it (all my relatives certainly thought so). But somehow, I love it more. I’m so glad Rowling went down the Classics corridor that fateful day. I know it didn’t go well for her in the short run, but the world is a better place thanks to that, for a million people worldwide.

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Saving You: Part 1.

Inspired by The Keeper by Lang Leav.

You were like a dream,
I wish I hadn’t
Slept through.

Within it I fell deeper,
Than your heart would
Care to let you.

I thought you were a keeper,
I wish I could
Have kept you.

Lang Leav.

Once, when I was 15, this boy told me how my words could hurt anyone who ever read them, and I didn’t believe him. I went on writing, because of the cathartic release, and I forgot about the boy till I was 18, freshly out of a disastrous affair, broken and mending. The boy, let’s call him Fred, had just given up the love of his life to move to a new city, albiet in the vicinity, and opened his heart to me, and I wrote about his grand sadness, for the world to see, but hidden from him. I wrote about his healing heart, and made him love my broken heart in my stories, and prompted him till he let me see his wounds. The world loved our stories, and told us to be together. I laughed at them, and their silliness. Us? Together? Pfuit.

We talked and talked and talked, about love, about books, about soulmates, about heartaches, and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, unbeknownst to my broken hearted muse. He said, “I like how you are not falling for me, even though I’ve bared my soul to you,” and I said, “Ditto,” with a stomach drop, years of reading about which wasn’t a cue enough for me.

In the years we spent talking, and drinking coffee, and singing songs, I fell for him, slowly, the cut deeper than a melody, and the word “Ditto” ringing in my ears. I wanted to stop the madness, and call it all off. But he said, “I love how you’re not falling for me, even though I’ve bared all my troubles to you,” and I wanted to prove him right. And because no one else does denial as well as I do. And because the boy told me my words are sharper than the knife, getting more polished with the years, and one day, I could kill him with my words, and I don’t know if he chooses to ignore it, or he’s a fool, but he doesn’t see that I’m in love with him, and even though all he wants is a conversation over coffee and cigarettes, I’m ready for more: for hot water baths in the cold winter mornings, and holding hands on hospital beds, and fighting over vacations and flight tickets, and arguing about baby names, and solar panels. I’m ready for the plunge with him, without knowing if we’d ever come back, and not just wading through clear water spring.

He tells me, “Let’s get out of this town, and no one will ever know,” and my heart sinks knowing that it’s the smallness of humankind that he’s talking about, and not running away to the wonderland where no one would separate us. “Fred,” I tell him, “We can’t ever run away, because a screen separates us, and binds us, and we’ll post a selfie the moment we see a beautiful sunset,” and he nods along.

I see him grow to his twenties, forgotten about the love of his life, sharing stories about one night stands and propositions, and I feel like we’ve come a long way, and I tell him about my work, and my promotions, and we go out for lunches and drinks, with our friends, and pose for pictures with the latest hashtagging trends. We smile a lot at each other, and tag the other in posts we each think the other will like, and debate about politics, and society, and poetry, and music. He tells me his dreams, and I tell him mine, and we laugh at our silliness, and the stillness of our souls. And that’s when I realise that I’m just a friend, and he’s only just a dream. And maybe, maybe after all these years, I’ll never get over him, not truly.


Mayfly

She wasn’t one to have a lot of crushes, but on him, it seemed long overdue. What was not to like about him? A little hinting from their friends was all it took for her to fall for him. And damn it, he was worth the agony!

Theirs wasn’t a perfect relationship from the start. There were month long fights, but both seemed to come back for more. She hated his guts and his overconfidence, and he hated her stupid jokes and boundary issues. She hated his stupid smirk, and he hated that she was so touchy-feely. This ensured a lot of venomous outbursts and tears and foulest kind of languages. She slapped him, and punched him and he gave zero fucks, making her even more agitated. But they got through it all, and grew up to be good friends when all their friends came together to make a group.

Both of them figured the best way out of this was to be friendly, and the slamming of doors and blocking on social media came down, and many frenemies posts and listicles were shared. She started smiling at him often, and he stole glances. And before she knew it, she fell hard.

It was easy, though, wasn’t it? They knew each other well enough, their friends were supportive, they liked the same kind of stuff, and they made memories together now- hanging out together, and eating out together, partying together, and vacationing together. She figured it’d be so easy – but the rational part of her didn’t agree. That part urged her to snap out of it, but the romantic in her fell harder.

So when that big graduation party came, she danced with him, and she got him water and food to get him to sober  up. But he didn’t. He downed all sorts of alcohol and was drunk beyond control, so she let him be. But she left early for another party, and that was that.

It started off with bits and pieces. They fell out for a couple of months. She hadn’t any news and she heard he was seeing another girl. So she didn’t bother. She could not be in love with him. So when he shifted cities, and didn’t text her often, she ignored him. She let him go.

The next couple of months were agony. But she got through him cold turkey. The girl rumoured to be with him turned out to be his cousin’s girlfriend, and later fiancĂ© (they lived in the same city, now). But she was finally, finally over him.

And now when he texted, she was glad that she didn’t feel butterflies in her stomach. Now they could be friends without anything attached to it. And when he was back in town, she met with him and let herself lose, knowing full well that she felt absolutely nothing for him.

But then she heard fragments of it. ‘No she doesn’t know’ she overhead him say to that girl she hated the guts of. She knew he was hiding something from her. She tried not to care – it was annoying that she didn’t know something apparently so huge about him. Then she picked on bits and pieces. A month ago, a couple of her other friends changed the topic when she asked what it was about him that they were hiding, and they talked about academics. She asked him later, and he said something about an internship, but she wasn’t stupid, she knew how to pay attention. And she did, and was devastated to hear what had happened.

He had kissed a girl! He had made out with a girl at the same party when she was being that pathetic loser who was crushing on him. There they were dancing for a bit and she dreamt up the name of the fourth dog, and two hours later, he was making out with some other girl!

She felt agitated, and embarrassed about herself and decided that that was that. She wasn’t letting another boy toy with her emotions like that. She felt disgusted, and used, even though it wasn’t her fault. If he couldn’t see what he had when he had it, it wasn’t her fault. And may be that’s part of growing up. Crushing on one of your homies and him shattering your heart, and because he’s such a good friend

, you

can’t tell anyone else, and hence you’re left to mend your broken heart. The boy you like getting drunk and making out with a total stranger at the same party that you’re in. Maybe growing up is realizing who’s just a mayfly and who is a swan.  And maybe growing up is learning not to care about that bastard who did nothing but break your heart a thousand times.

And maybe growing up is learning that you deserve the best, and learning not to settle.