So long, Mr. Potter

And it all ends, say the posters for the final installment in Harry Potter series. Maybe it does, for the creators of the movie. But for ardent fans like us, it never will.

As the second part of the final Potter movie hits cinema halls worldwide, I'm filled with a sort of nostalgia, almost not wanting to see the movie itself. For me, Harry Potter has not been the story of the boy wizard, but of several memories associated with its publishing period.

I picked up my copy of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, sometime in late 2000. My grandmother had just passed away and my world seemed to have gone into a seemingly unending mess. My grades in school fell, I was shifted to a section meant for 'weak students', and I was always a more than average student. I just couldn't take it. I was forever scared that either my father or my mother or both may die soon and I will have no one in the world to look after me. I was bordering on paranoia.

Around the same time, newspapers carried stories of this book series that had become an international sensation. Harry Potter. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to know what it was all about. Then, after the unfortunate events of 2000, I didn't have the chance to think about it. One day, after things at home had settled a bit, my father and uncle decided to go to this book-cum-CD-store to pick up a few movies. Papa asked me if I wanted something. I merely wrote down the name 'Harry Potter' on a piece of paper and gave it to him. An hour later I got a call, 'There are four books. Which one do you want me to bring?". Not having read any, I asked him to bring me just the first one.

I started reading it and fell in love with the characters. This was my Enid Blyton. Somehow, all the magic that Harry did and the wonderful friends that he had, made me feel good. And knowing that there is more, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the subsequent books. I managed to get hold of those books from friends and continued to read them whenever I could manage. I wanted to read it even when I had my board exams.

And then the movies came out shortly after I started reading the second one. Daniel Radcliffe gave a face to the Harry that I had so far been imagining. So did other prominent actors. In all the subsequent books that I read, I could imagine Alan Rickman as Snape, Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore and Maggie Smith as Minerva Mcgonagall. It was a fairytale period, those years.

Even now as I remember those moments, it makes me want to thank J.K.Rowling for giving me Harry Potter. For all the days in college when I read the books during ongoing lectures, for all the times I looked forward to something for the first time, for the only biggest source of joy I remember from my adolescent life - I thank you.

And now, the last movie hits theaters today. I will watch it, even if I don't want to. I would rather live in this world where I can look forward to 'one more Potter movie or book' and remember those days that made me who I am today. Harry Potter literally saved me in many ways. It truly did. Without it, in those months after my grandmother's death, life would have been much more difficult. But Potter and his magic, did a wonderful trick to direct my heart to someplace better than where it was.

There will be no more Potter books or movies. Probably it is better this way. I have moved on to other series and look forward to new things everyday. But each time I think about my Potter-crazy days, I cannot feel anything but happiness associated with those memories.

I have six out of the seven Potter books at my parents' place in Hyderabad. The only one that I don't have is the sixth one, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which incidentally is my favourite. I'm still looking for a good deal on a Hardcover edition for that one and then my Potter collection will be complete.

Maybe that is why it doesn't end for me yet. That one book missing from my collection. But I shall have it one day, and then what? Nothing. It'll remain so until the day I want to start to re-live those moments again. And maybe when I am older and my children want to read books from my library, I can recommend it to them. Maybe they'll like it. Maybe they won't. Who knows?

Till then, so long Mr. Potter. Thanks for the magic that you've brought into the lives of millions of children worldwide.

Once Upon a World Cup

There you are. India beat Pakistan in the 2011 Cricket World Cup Semi-Final and will now face the Sri Lankans tomorrow. There. Every Indian is happy. The victory sparked off wild celebrations, even in dry Ahmedabad (Formally dry. Informally, like Sabarmati flows the Scotch).

That morning, before the match had begun, I was thinking, "What if we lose this match now? How would the Indian fans take it? After all, it IS Pakistan. And every news channel is already gung-ho about this match and the political who's who attending". Indeed, this match was seemingly becoming bigger than cricket itself. But then again, aren't all Indo-Pak matches are?

Meanwhile, my mind decided to pull into reverse-gear and arrived at the flashback of the 1999 World Cup. A couple of my cousins and I, ages 9-12, used to gather at this aunt's place to watch the matches. Some Pizza outlet had a scheme running -

"Call 66333444 when a Batsman hits a six. Name the Batsman. First caller wins a Pizza".

This was just brilliant. A free Pizza was like the biggest dream of our life. And we all decided to try our luck at every single match. We had the number on speed-dial and took turns to sit next to the telephone. The number, however, was always "busy". Too young to realize the marketing strategy, we had plenty of hope that one day, we shall get to the Pizza.

India - Sri Lanka Match. 26 May, 1999, Taunton (England).

Without much luck in the previous matches, we were hoping we'd strike Pizza in this one. We had this younger cousin of ours, Puneet, put the number on speed dial and wait for someone to hit a six.

Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid were batting. The signs were ominous. Somebody was going to hit a six. And we had Pizza Puneet ready to make the call. All of 10 and hungry for free Pizza, he waited anxiously, praying. Then came the moment we were all waiting for. Ganguly hit a massive six and we rejoiced. One more shot at the Pizza. Puneet speed-dialed and it was finally ringing at the other end. Someone picked up -

Man - Hello?

Puneet - Hello. Hello (stammering. Still thinking about the Pizza)

Man - Yes?

Puneet - Haan. Hello. Hello? Ganguly ne chakka maara. Ganguly ne chakka maara!! (Ganguly hit a six)

Man - Haan to? Main kya karoon? (So. What am I supposed to do?)

Puneet - Pizza bhejo na. Ganguly ne chakka maara hai. Pizza jeete hum log. Bhejo. (Send the Pizza. Ganguly hit a six. We've won the Pizza.)

Man - Kya? Kaun sa number chaahiye? (What? What number did you dial?)

Puneet -66633444.

Man - Number sahi hai..par kya Pizza? (The number is correct. But what Pizza?)

The moment he said the number we were shouting behind him to put the phone down. Wrong number. Wrong number.

A few of us slapped our fore-head as Ganguly hit another six. And THEN we all laughed. Puneet thought we were all going to hit him for the missed chance. When that didn't happen, he joined us to share this moment.

Ganguly went on and hit a few more sixes in that memorable innings where he scored 183. However, thanks to Puneet, we remember the match more for the Pizza rather than the final outcome.

Did we call again? No. Everytime Ganguly hit a six, we joked around as Puneet looked on sheepishly.

Did we get the Pizza? Yes. Not immediately though. And definitely not free.

Thinking about it now, watching cricket for reasons beyond cricket, has always been a way of life. At least for me.


Look who's back!

Hee Hee.

Now, if you thought I forgot all about this blog, wrong you were. Might have been selective amnesia, yes. Might have been sheer boredom, yes. Even so, I have decided to get back to my blogger-ship which got me plenty of wonderful friends and readers alike.

I stopped blogging here because of all the zillion things happening in my life. And this blog was a bitter-sweet reminder of all the memories I had stored, some of which I wanted to forget. I started other blogs but couldn't bring myself to write as regularly as I used to write here. So here I am again. Where I began. To continue where I'd left and maybe start anew.

Hello, my dear blog. I've missed you very much.

P.S: You can keep me blog-rolled now. Hee.

P.P.S: And yeah. You can find this shit on "" as well. HeeHee.
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