One meal, a couple of bathroom breaks and less than 19 hours after I first opened it, I finished reading the very last chapter of the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As any true fan of Harry Potter would assure you, the following lines give away no plot details, I do not support spoilers. The end was predicted, argued upon and expected. But what I absolutely did not foresee was my reaction as I closed the book at 3.30 AM this morning.
My Dad being in the book business, I got introduced to Harry Potter very early, much before the hype reached India. I was handed the first two books of the series sometime in late 1998, when I complained of boredom. I picked the second book, since it sounded more interesting. And since then, my journey ensued with the world's most famous fictional character. He has journeyed with me through high school, through college and now my MBA. I started off with a one year lead as a twelve-year old, but I have grown up sooner than him, at least on paper. I convinced so many to start reading about him, I read each of his books multiple times, but very strangely I did not own a single copy. Not even the Chamber of Secrets, the book I read first, then went on to read it again at least 6 more times, my favourite of the lot.
So when the date for the release of the final book approached, I decided to shell out 800 bucks to purchase a copy, my very own. The one week preceding the release was exciting and I was jumping inside myself. On 21st, I woke up at 6.30, went with two friends for a sumptuous breakfast and then collected three copies of the coveted book. I reached my hostel room at 8.30 and started reading immediately. It wasn't as fun as the first four books, but everyone knew it wasn't meant to be. I hesitated to move at meal times and refused to access the net for the fear of spoilers. But the book had to finish, I read the last chapter excruciatingly slowly, not wanting it to end. But it did.
As I placed the book on my desk and lied down on my bed, there was a rush of strangely mixed up emotions in my little head. I was relieved with the happy ending, but it only then struck me that the magic had truly ended. No more early mornings with Dad or my friends, waiting for the delivery truck to bring us the sweet smelling volumes. No more speculations, no more deciphering hidden clues and messages. I would miss all this. I was probably expected to read bigger, grown up books now. But I know for sure that none of them will bring back the flight of imagination that Harry brought so easily to my mind. Harry Potter let me be a little kid, waiting for a story to be told and retold every year. Knowing that there would be no more such mysteries has brought me the cruel realization that I have grown up, quite unlike Harry. And the future is scary.
I went to bed, thinking of the night as an end of an era. I got up in the morning feeling extremely weird and I looked at the book I had kept aside a few hours ago. And I flipped through it, reading snippets, and I felt myself getting engrossed yet again.
The magic remains and will remain. Whenever I need to get out of this mundane world and be a kid again, I know I can rely on Harry Potter to take me back to his world. I know the destination, but that is hardly the point of this journey. The adventure may have ended for Harry, but it is recorded for all of us to revisit again, again, again and yet again.
Thanks for the magic, Harry.