I confess, I am an addict. Even when it has been weeks since I read a new book, I will still go back and re-read the part where Snape produces his doe- Patronus and weep myself to sleep. Even when I am having a bad-tummy-day and must ignore the delicious vathakozhambu my mother has made, I will still fantasize tasting Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and chugging on some Butterbeer. And even when I know that nothing including doubly-strong iron chains that could anchor the Titanic firmly in place could keep my parents out of my room, I will hang up a poster on the door and will it with all my nonverbal- spell-casting skills to ask anyone who seeks to enter for a password. I am a Potterhead and the promised worldwide release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, set 19 years after Voldemort is dead has got me all riled up.
Since the launch of Pottermore, an entertainment website to which Rowling officially contributes, we have had more than enough to satiate our appetites for any news from the magical world of Harry Potter. And Rowling has delivered. From sorting us into houses, allowing us to explore Diagon Alley (and pocketing stray galleons on the way) to sharing with us the back stories of characters, one can say that the boy who lived has pretty much lived on. But there lies the conundrum. Did we really want him to live on, and live thus?
I must say, I was partially disappointed with the Epilogue to the series in itself. Yes, Voldemort is dead. To have the snubby-people-like-Fudge ridden world suddenly transform into a warm, friendly place wasn’t the worst part, in fact, it was totally understandable especially after Rowling proved she was only second to George R.R. Martin in making the world gloomy (read Sirius, Lupin, Fred, Dobby and Dumbledore- enough said.) But to find that the trio ended up being pretty much where they wanted to end up in life, married to the people they “loved” during school and all responsible and gay struck me as slightly odd. I mean, how many of us end up marrying our childhood sweethearts, doing exactly what we thought was our goal in school and name our kids something they are bound to be teased for the rest of their lives? Rowling gave us the imperfect marauders whom we fell head over heels in love with, and everyone from that generation surprised and delighted us (a 25- minute movie called “Severus Snape and the Maruders” made by Potterheads and uploaded very recently on Youtube will tell you exactly why we made such a fuss over that generation). Then she gave us the Potter generation, and they had their moments too, making us feel bad for Draco in parts and call Ron a complete ‘arse’ for ignoring Hermione. Rowling was employing the oldest trick in the bag of character constructions- making us see the perfection in everyone’s imperfections. We wish the epilogue was similar.
But let us not dwell too much on the past. After the seven books came, we busied ourselves with Mugglenet, reading fanfiction and rooting for Drarry. We busied ourselves with Rowling’s stories on Pottermore. What we did not expect was a whole new magical world thrust upon us, complete with new magical schools, sorting and histories of their own! Yes, I was miffed when I discovered that the American counterpart of a muggle was a ‘no-maj’, because it came from a woman who flaunted her French with Vol-de-mort (you are no Potterhead if you did not know that) and her Greek mythology with at least half the other characters and creatures. But I was overwhelmed and overawed when I was introduced to Ilvermorny, Mahoutokoro, Uagadou and Castlebruxo- wizarding schools other than Hogwarts all over the world. The Ilvermorny story (the North American wizarding school) was revealed on Pottermore a few days back, both to the delight and chagrin of fans all over. The latter was sparked off by an indignant letter by a Native American Potterhead which went viral on the internet. She felt Rowling had been insensitive in her research on the Indians and hadn’t given them enough space in the story. But for a non-indigenous fan of Rowling’s who knows very less to nothing about Indian folklore (yes, I am being selfish here), the school and its houses opened up a world that promised to be as magical as Hogwarts itself. After going through the magical sorting, a revamped version of the Hogwarts one with questions like “What would you exchange for your heart’s desire?” and “ Do you prefer to remember/ experience?”, I was declared to be a Horned Serpent. I was confused if this was in any way related to Slytherin, and only heaved a sigh of relief when I read that it “Represents the mind” and “Favours Scholars”.
Harry Potter brought in a flurry of firsts in my life. My first literature paper was an eco-critical analysis of Harry Potter. My first application of Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief” was when I imagined the broomstick at home was a Nimbus 2000. The first time I saw what the world looked like at 5 in the morning was when I stood in queue to buy the latest book. I can hardly wait for the magic to recommence on July 31st. For Harry Potter, the excitement is on, always.
In the chilly hours of the morning, the wind blows incessantly. A wind that I might have once enjoyed, tickled by the goosebumpy freshness it brings to the skin and exhilaration it evokes. But not any more. Inside a body that seems to spew up convolutions every time I sneeze or cough, the wind seems a stark reminder that happiness does not stay. Like the wind it shifts. Like the wind it is only for a few to enjoy or a few moments to feel happy about. I want to look back on this moment and some time in the future be able to say, “I thought that was it but I’ve come through it” Except I shall not use the words unscathed. Because to a body that wants to be whipped by the wind mercilessly and yet exult in the joy of the whipping, isolation in the confines of a rough blanket is scathing. It hurts. Sometimes fate is merciless. It trips you up and then unapologetically lets you know it wasn’t accidental. Then punches you in the face and shows you the way to the hospital. Because that is the only way I can explain the past few weeks. Being disappointed is bad enough. When you won’t be allowed to be disappointed in peace? That takes you to a whole new spiral of dejection. When the mind is all geared up to shut down for a few weeks so that the blissful release of depression can take over it is then that the body starts shutting down. Now the mind cannot do the same. Because unfortunately for you, age is on your side. The mind needs to help the body recuperate and puts its own problems on hold. And the stubborn ass of a body becomes hot and cold and bleeds and wails and doesn’t settle. And all this while you are aware that the mind is only functioning because it has to, and is on stand by mode, and will put up a fight of its own once the body is fine. How they play with the helpless, innocent soul trapped between them.
And all the while the wind is blowing fiercely outside, teasing and teasing, maddeningly teasing the soul out of its wits.
Some days, I feel like such a dunce. Like today when I couldn’t figure out the simple parallel narrative structure of a movie. When brother dearest pointed it out to me and I responded with an illuminated “aah!”, he sneered. Well, what was I to do but snap back with an “I didn’t ask you to tell me that”? My comebacks were also wearing the dunce cap. Worse, he responded with “What do you do when you see someone sinking? You help. Ergo I did”. Ah, condescending elder brothers can really make your day and boost your self esteem, can’t they. This just got me thinking that there are two different shades to me, really . One, a poignant, deep self that delights in writing poetry and reading and talking about books. But another that has the IQ of a child who has seen a cow or a bus for the first time. That doesn’t make sense, does it. But that’s how I am. As an English major, I know I absolutely have it in myself to read a book and analyze it down to the phonemes of each word. Analyze it so I can give you a giggle-sob-sigh account of what the writer felt while putting down those words. And analyze it of course for its figures of speech and structure and themes and the entire nine yards. But I also know I have a side that can miss the most obvious details, that can trip and fall before the most important people and that can forget to wipe my mouth even, after a meal. And obviously, end up embarrassing the people with me. Oh, only after embarrassing myself of course. It is so difficult competing with someone who is cool all the time. Alright, a whole family of people who are cool all the time. And even if they aren’t, they’re not deep and poignant one second and tripping over their laces in another. So maybe I’m different. Caught between identities. Okay, that’s just me using a fancy phrase to euphemise “You’re messed up”.
Sigh. Is this a phase or am I stuck?
the housefly goes buzzing across and i’m suddenly thinking of the fan whirring the same way when there’s this continuous sound that has a certain cadence to it and when everything is quiet you can listen to many more such strains of awry music like now you hear the clock going on on on until the battery dies and the heart going thump thump only going faster when someone like that guy comes in front and oh no i just remembered i’m not supposed to think of that guy any more just like i’m trying hard not to think of that girl who made me think of that guy and how awesome should it be for those who don’t have a girl or a guy to think about because all they have is their own conscience to speak to and sometimes isn’t your own conscience the best person to speak to because at present my conscience is asking me to stop spewing out the shit i am and i don’t know if wordpress has a moral police looking at the word shit but who cares there’s enough talk about moral policing going on in the last few days already and i am sick of it though i don’t quite mind because it takes off my mind the impending deadline where i have to make a decision that finally decides what i do with my life and goddamn why does my life have to depend on a decision like i can’t spend it like i want to and just be as i am for i certainly didn’t ask to be born a human that could walk and talk and go to university and make a life out of that when i could rather have been that housefly buzzing about creating a helluva lot of nuisance for humans trying to think lying sprawled out under the whirring fan.
Those large drooping eyes- you sink into the abyss of understanding they offer. That large ambling body- both clumsy and graceful at the same time- you want to sink into that pillowy mass and feel the soothing tingle it offers your tired soul. Those hidden ears, black and soft as velvet- you want to search for them and revel in their finding like you’ve found eternity. The Panda. The most effective therapist I have known. Have you ever stared at a seemingly uncomplicated picture of a panda with a piece of bamboo? Do. Because you will immediately feel that sea of calm engulf you, deep breaths that you have gasped for. Have you ever seen a video of a panda slowly ambling along? Do. Because that sense of settling peace offers your scattered mind the respite it needs.
My best friend is my panda. I am one of those people who have found my soulmate in my best friend. She has been there all through- she has fallen down deep abysses with me and climbed that mountain of triumph. We have held each other and cried and hugged each other and laughed. At other times I have just stared at her until the feeling of hot chocolate thawing frozen insides comes over me.. and at times I have screamed at her until tears come tumbling down my face and she holds me and the world is alright again.
She is my diary of thoughts, my blotting paper of tears, my vacuum cleaner of despair, my churner of joy, my Santa of love. She inspires me with her words, enthralls me with her smile. I see her petite figure walking down like a little sun skittering along, hair flying everywhere and I close my eyes in contentment. I see her smiling, and see her soul smiling through her eyes and I soar. She holds my hand and I know I have everything.
I don’t need a stuffed Panda doll to calm down. I have my own breathing, smiling, brawling panda. My soulmate, my panda, my best friend.
Happy birthday, you 🙂