by Premankur Biswas
Second year of college isn’t the time to indulge the nerd in you. It’s when you try to be a different person, the kind of person who looks like he hasn’t had a bath for days and speaks like he hasn’t slept for days. But what do you do when you are confronted with a force so overwhelming that you have no choice but to surrender?
Harry Potter caught me unawares when my senses were already swamped with the baroque pleasures of Keats’ poetry (I was studying English Literature). I was in a bookshop with an assortment of college stereotypes when I picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (I read the second book first), and the college nerd whispered conspiratorially in my ears- “read it, it will change your life”. I never looked back.
It started off like a guilty indulgence, something I would never own up to. This was 2001 and India was yet to wake up to the Harry Potter phenomenon. I would sneak out for quickies in between classes, discussions and canteen addas and return beaming.
My batchmates would wonder what I am high on, and I would smile my most mysterious smile.
By the time I finished college and was a post-graduate student, Harry Potter was a household name in India. I could finally come out. And I did, with aplomb- blogging about Harry, presiding over Harry Potter fan clubs, pre-booking Potter books.
But then, I was mature enough to be objective about my Potter obsessions. My background in Literature told me that Rowling drew heavily from Greek and Roman mythology while meticulously constructing Harry’s world. I could sense the sexual subtext that Rowling devised. I knew Harry was not just a boy but like all creations of great literature he was a reverse boggart –everything we wanted to be.
By the time the last Harry Potter book released, I was a jaded journalist in his late 20s. Yet, I pre-booked my copy, queued up outside the bookstore and blogged breathlessly about the future of Harry ‘s love life. There was a part of me that knew that this was not in keeping with my age or my stature. But then there was a part of me which also knew that there will never be another Harry Potter.