Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Travellers

She was tired. No matter how hard she tried, he was everywhere. From the corner of signs, she could see him. Even though they kept telling her what to do next, she kept seeing him and nothing else. In the end, they just gave up. She wished they hadn’t. It was not like she was purposely ignoring their precious advice. They just did not get it.

He was her road. No matter where she was, and no matter where she wished to reach, he was the journey she would have to make in order to reach her destination. They kept telling her that many times the journey is the destination. So, did that make him her destination?

Sometimes, she tried changing her direction on the same path. She’d long realized that the path is not always a straight road, and, at times, it is easier to keep walking on the same path, exploring the different directions. But why was it that in each direction she only met him? Did he already know she was arriving? At some level, did he also believe that she was his path?

Once or twice, she stopped to wonder. Did he read her world in the same way as she read his? As he became a page-turner in her world, had she also become a bookmark in his? He still dwelled in her world, but was she also beginning to enter into the spaces between his stars? He read through the stories of light, and she read through those cracks, through which that light entered and shone.

Were they both travellers meant to keep stopping by in each other’s life? If that was indeed the case, did she have the courage or the will to wish herself and him a “Happy Journey” and meet one more time?

“On the map, it appears that I am going home. But the truth is that I’m only getting more and more lost,” he sighed.

“On the map, it seems that I’m already home. But the truth is that I’m lost with him on his road,” she realized.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Hogwarts in Kolkata!

This blogpost is an entry to the Blogging contest, a part of the book launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in association with Kolkata Bloggers.

Mishti dozed off half-way through reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, an early present that she’d received just before her eleventh birthday. “This is so magical!” she sighed as her eyes drew to a close. “I wish I studied at Hogwarts.”

The next morning, she had to go for her dreaded Math tuition-classes. It was early and the usually crowded area of Chowringhee was yet to start bustling with activity. Realizing that she had a good twenty minutes to kill and with no desire to go early for class, Mishti entered a dilapidated antique-store whose door was open. No one was around. Mishti marvelled at some wonderfully-carved wooden tables. Suddenly she saw an ancient, ornate mirror lying in a corner. It had clawed feet, and a golden frame that was inscribed with the phrase,"Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi."

“What do you see in the mirror?” boomed a voice behind her.
Mishti jumped and saw a tall, thin, old man standing. He wore a purple Panjabi with dhuti.

When Mishti looked in the mirror, it was not her reflection she saw. “I see…” she hesitated.
“Go on,” encouraged the man.
“I see that I’ve received a letter stating that I’ve been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

The man’s face broke into a smile. “This mirror shows not the reality but your heart’s deepest desire. However, I have the power to make your wish come true!”
“How?” asked Mishti in wonder.
“My name is Abhi Dasgupta,” said the old man. “I studied at Hogwarts and was Headmaster there. These days, we seem to have a lot of promising witches and wizards from Kolkata, so we’re setting up a school of magic here. You are going to be one of its first pupils!” he informed her.

Mishti could not believe her ears. “You mean Harry Potter exists?” she exclaimed.
“Yes, my child,” Mr. Dasgupta chuckled. “He will be your Defence against the Dark Arts teacher.”

Mr. Dasgupta handed her a letter, and before Mishti could say another word, he was gone in the blink of an eye. Mishti forgot all about Math class and ran home to her parents. Her parents were Potter-fans too and could not believe what Mishti said to them. They read the letter and rushed to purchase the items Mishti’d need for school: books from Oxford Book-Store in Park Street; some fresh parchments from a shop in College Street, robes from Rahman’s Store in New Market; and who’d have known that the handicraft emporium at Dakshinapan even stocked wands and broom-sticks!

“I hope all this is real!” voiced Mishti. “I hope it’s not happening inside my head.”

“My dear child,” said her mother. “Even if it’s happening inside your head, why should it mean that it’s not real?”
Mishti went to bed that night feeling extremely excited. The next morning she woke up and saw the letter lying on her bed-side table. “It wasn’t a dream! I'm the Chosen One!” she jumped with joy.
Finally, the day came when Mishti, escorted by her parents, arrived at Sealdah Station and headed for the wall between Platforms 9 and 10. She was ready to board the train from Sealdah Platform 9¾ which would take her to the Hogwarts School in Kolkata. It was just the beginning of her journey, but she was sure it was going to be the most memorable experience of her life.