Time rolled on (like white smoke-rings coming from mosquito coils). I had settled well in my job. Had read the five books released until then few more times, followed every bit of news surrounding HP, read of the old time rituals and Witch-burnings and stuff, supported Ron and Hermione shippers, hated Cho Chang, watched the movies and found Daniel in the movies (first and fourth alone) to be very cute and marveled at how my image of what Harry would look was exactly the image of Daniel (though his eyes aren’t almond shaped). I became very good in book trivia though still was a bit rusty with the general trivia (Haven’t read the ‘other’ books like Fantastic Beasts etc and was also weak on fan-fiction). The HP interest (knowledge) literally put me on map the first ever time at work (well... they had a quiz... I had won... so... you know, it’s a long story). It created avenues to interact with lots of like minded people (fans, fanatics, maniacs, ... ). Interestingly that led me to becoming friends with two particularly awesome souls (of whom I have selfishly stopped speaking to one, since, well... the going got tough and I had to but let the tough get going... some day... one day I will make it up; the other ended up being my best-friend and is still).
So anyways... came 2005. My level of enthusiasm was too high that I took the initiative (ha...there’s a first...and probably the last) to order the book. But staying true to form I ‘deal’-ed with a bus-mate in sharing the book. The book was delivered on date and her sister, the addict in her family, started reading it. I must have made a million calls to her house to hear the updates and status of progress. (Wonder why, but after the 10000th time they stopped picking my calls.. Must have gotten them caller-id things?) Meanwhile, I was unable to deal with the tension. To keep face, I had to have read the book by the time I reached office premises on Monday morning. And it was already a day since the book was out. In the outside world, reviews were being published in papers (which of course were vehemently avoided); news coverage was extensive with footage of people crying over something (wooops, switch channels already). Since my family were (and still is. You should talk to my cousin. His Voldemort - Kamsan comparison is well ... grrr!) as much anti-wizardry as possible, I had no issues being isolated from the speculation, gossip and inadvertent plot reveals (that rag TOI, it seems, published the death of Dumbledore even before half the town woke up). Unlike in 2004, when I had no choice, when I was introduced to and caught on with the fever, in 2005 I chose not to be part of the fans-groups/ discussions until I had read the book and formed my own opinion on that installment (well... the real reason was to avoid having to chat with mushroom fans... you know, when it rains mushrooms pop only to die out later when the sun shines). Back to the story, that sister took forever to read and gave me the book 1.5 days after release (give it to me already)! I did not even say goodbye to that friend-sister. I just grabbed the book from her very carefully (should appreciate her, she hadn’t even creased a single page.. the book was as good as new), said some cursory things and ran to my room. She surprisingly did not seem to mind (Camaraderie, I say). All I remember of that evening when I got the book and the next day evening until I finished it (I don’t remember… Was Monday a holiday? Or was the book delivered on Friday?), was of me lying on the floor, with pillows under my chin and shin (actually knee, but for the rhyme), Mom providing the required symphonic interlude of scolding (more in the lines of english novel reading educated girls... world going bad...what else) and eyes burning red, visitors giving me up as a lost case. I had been completely unmindful of what I ate, what I spoke (a cousin’s wife later said that I had diligently answered all her questions in funny noises, until she finally gave up). And finally I was done. It had rained outside.I hadn't known.
Lots of discussions (of course with genuine fans; was overwhelmed by the intensity and knowledge of some fans) and lots and lots of analyses (both fun and informative) were followed by the indispensible speculation of what/how the next book would be. Plenty of fun stuff later, I put that magical world in the back of the mind (and the HP HBP t-shirt at the back of my closet) and tried to get on with life taking heart in the fact that there was still one more book left (and also in the fact that I have got 6 books to read once again and who knew what and where a speck of dust was hidden and which could resurface as a landmine. It was an interesting exercise to read books 1 to 5 immediately after completing book 6. Again, at the risk of sounding repetitive, I was amazed with the compelling story telling nature of Rowling.)
Even with all those going on, I got married. That’s to say I added one more member to the family who wanted nothing to do with Potter, the one who was as wisely knowledge-d as to ask if Lumos were a sweet. (He and my brother bonded big time over their common hatred of the "children’s" book. I think I don't really belong to my family. I fit in as fine as Calvin and if I had Hobbes read my shirt collar, no doubt he would have been right; I could have been bought from Sears.).
Change of heart, change of life, change of job, change of place later, it was finally 2007. That time around I really broke the tradition and actually pre-ordered the book (to be delivered to my home) well ahead in month of May. So you would think that I would have read the book suda suda. May be I had offended some Gods in breaking the tradition, but I chose June to get employed out-of-state. And we had to choose the exact same weekend of July 21, 2007 to shift houses to the new town. When? Yes, exactly a day before the book was delivered. What then, you ask? I got in touch with a small time addict, and "humbly requested" him to pick up the book delivered to my house, "offered" to let him to read it if he wished (gasp! will I never get to read the book first hand?) and then courier it to the new house address. Finally, after I got e-books mailed from different people from different places (I still have a very funny version of HP TDH), I got the book only after a week since its release. (Funny thing in an Enna thimir ? kinda way! My Manager’s teen-daughter had wanted to know if his project had anyone with remote interest in Harry Potter, to which he had replied "Yes there is this one ‘girl’. She is from India...Even still...").
So all in all this is how I met Harry for all the seven times.
I’m proud to be part of the Generation that saw Harry Potter live. I can’t imagine how excited I would be when in few years my daughter reads the book and asks me how it was when it was released. Maybe she would be thrilled. Maybe she wouldn’t understand. May be there would be some other book to take its place. Would there be any other book series that would have a protracted life span of 10 years and still have a loyal fan-base another few years later? (Personally this book managed to arrest my attention and manage to hold it for 4 years during its time and still continue to hold).
Time only will tell...
P.S: Is this positive and light enough Mr :)
Yes, I own all books of the series. Soft and hard~
No, I don’t like the movies.
Yes, I like Lord of the Rings - the movie. Books belong to the 'for-later'.
No, I won’t compare.
Yes. I’m glad I wrote this.
And no, I’m not done!