A Changed Muggle Life

This is not fan-fiction...it's reality. This is about what changed in me during my journey through Harry Potter's world. I wrote it almost a year ago, hope you like it :)

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1. A Changed Muggle Life

Looking back on it now, it’s hard for me to believe that three years ago, I was a mere Muggle leading an insignificant fifth-grader’s life. Of course, the only apparent change in me is that now I am a mere Muggle leading an insignificant eighth-grader’s life. But really, all that has changed in my life during this journey through Harry Potter’s world carries more complexity and significance than what I can express even in a thousand words…

There was no proper beginning to my story with Harry. It was such an inadvertent instinct that persuaded me to actually open the book for a random read that it gives me goosebumps to think how different my life would have been if I hadn’t. Pulling out the great, big book of Harry Potter from the library shelves back when I was six was quite fun…hunting for familiar names and words that made sense. But my real journey began when I finally let my curiosity take over and started reading The Philosopher’s Stone - “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number 4 Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” and never stopped… 

I read through the night without realising I was beginning to form a bond with this fictional eleven-year old with round glasses and a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead – I was there with him at Diagon Alley, I was with him at Platform 9 ¾ boarding the Hogwarts Express and I was there when he got sorted into Gryffindor. It was a surreal experience because no other book had ever managed to make me sit down and patiently finish reading it. I had believed until then that I was impatient, restless and too impulsive to ever finish what I started. But here was a book that promised to transport me to a completely different and magical world. This book changed everything. Now I didn’t want to stop reading at all.

The best thing was that when I met Harry, he was almost the same age as I was. He was eleven and just about to start schooling at a place he was very unfamiliar with. I was just going to start secondary schooling right then, something I was quite intimidated by. Though I can’t say that Harry going to Hogwarts was even remotely relatable with me going to a Muggle school, it’s true that he and I share a mutual bond – we watched each other grow.

Wherever I went I could find Harry Potter lovers. It was as though Rowling could cast a spell on all her readers in the form of this irrevocable obsession on each person who dared so much as to touch her books. The HP fever (as we called it) was spreading so wildly so much so that you could find a bunch of third-graders pretending to be wizards, swishing and flicking long pencils like wands and going “Wingardium Leviosa” in the school corridors. 

I remember I was clutching this hardbound copy of The Philosopher’s Stone as I walked into my new class at secondary school. Harry was there with me all the time. I think any Harry Potter book has the ability to help you pull off a successful conversation with strangers, anytime, anywhere. As soon as they found me with an HP book, many of my new classmates were suddenly interested in talking to me. It was like, “Oh she reads Harry Potter. She can be my friend!”  

But, leaving behind all the publicity Harry brought me; there’s also something much deeper about the relationship he and I share. I saw him go through so much. With time as I was completing the series, I saw him go through almost everything that any average adolescent did (save for stuff like killing the enemy and saving the world). The whole series captured beautifully the dynamic life of a child as he grows into an adolescent with so many responsibilities. Honestly, the series acquainted me with a hundred different emotions.  

Today, I can say quite confidently that each character taught me something about the various aspects of life – I learnt the value of friendship from Harry; I learnt that there is a weird and crazy side to everybody and only some, like Luna Lovegood, are brave enough to expose it; I learnt that laughter is something that can make you feel better in any situation from the twins; I learnt that the bravest of people may appear to be the biggest cowards from Neville Longbottom; I learnt that a mother would do anything to save her child from Lily Potter, Molly Weasley and Narcissa Malfoy…and the list goes on.

My love for reading Harry Potter grew into an emotional bond because of all that was changing in me during this journey. This soon grew into an absolute necessity, a kind of madness. I practically lived off those books. Nothing in my real world mattered to me, because I somehow convinced myself that what was going on at Hogwarts was reality. I cried when Dumbledore died in the book, and cried all over again when he died in the movie. The books, the movies…they seemed like the only thing that mattered and my life soon became a repetition, more like déjà vu probably – living and reliving the same moment once, twice, a million times.

And then, it hit me all of a sudden. I saw the first posters of the last movie saying “It all ends on July 15”. The last movie was coming, and soon it would all be gone. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I had already finished reading the last book long ago and that had been the end…but the movie was going to make me feel all that pain all over again. I also knew that this was not really where it ends. The movies, the books…they are always going to be there. I can always get back to them whenever I want to…

This was where I realised that Harry Potter’s world was manifesting a kind of bondage in my soul, almost evilly, and that my obsession had become so dangerous that I could actually feel my life slipping away into a dreamland…

When I entered the movie theatre, I had a plan in my head. I had decided that this is where it ends and this is where I have to free myself. There was no way I could live like a prisoner inside a world that was not even mine. Someday, it had to end. And this was it. Nothing I did would change that, and I would just have to accept it. After all … “ ‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live…’ ”

At the end of the movie, I left the theatre feeling a thousand years older. I felt like I had experienced all kinds of things in these thirteen short years of my life. I felt more mature and stronger…and I realised I was not emotional about such a significant thing in my life coming to end. Instead, I was happy. I was happy that this ever happened to me. Going back home I had a huge smile on my face, because I had finally realised that Harry Potter had been a phase of my life – not a book, not a movie…a very important phase of my life that had helped me grow tremendously. I knew I would  be fine. I knew that “All was well”

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