By Bijal Vachharajani
Thirty five years ago, “as the seventh month died”, a boy was born to wizards who had “thrice defied” the Dark Lord. Since 1997, July 31 is celebrated for two reasons – the birthdate of Harry Potter and his creator, JK Rowling.
Harry, despite being the Chosen One and all that, has always had uncommon birthday celebrations. On his tenth birthday, the Dursleys gifted him a coat hanger and a pair of old socks. Harry spent the next birthday in a broken-down house in the middle of the sea (that’s also when he found out he was a wizard). Because his birthday fell during Hogwarts’ holidays, Harry waited eagerly for birthday owl posts from his friends – which came in the form of cards, letters, a broom servicing kit, Honeydukes chocolates and the snapping The Monster Book of Monsters.
Rowling turns 50 today, and the Boy Who Lived is 35. Since they are both important milestones, we asked muggles, witches and wizards to send in owl posts wishing the magical duo.
Ishaan Ghosh, Age 13
Happy birthday, Harry!
I am so happy to be writing to you on your birthday. I have read all the books and watched all the movies about you. I have read the books over and over again and also watched the movies maybe a billion times each! Now, when I start watching them I see that my mother leaves the room and doesn’t show up again till they are over. I must thank you for this
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite book. I think it is funny and exciting and I loved reading about your godfather, Sirius Black. I wondered who my godfather is after reading the book and I hope he is as magical as yours was.
Reading the books about you makes me want to go on adventures. While reading them I put myself in your shoes and I picture that I am happy or sad or facing my enemies just like you.
I would like to wish you by saying my favourite sentence from the first book: “You are a wizard, Harry.”
Reyansh Airan, Age 8
Dear Ms Rowling,
I love your Harry Potter books, my favourite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban. I like it because of Sirius. He was really good character. I've read every Harry Potter book, even Quidditch Through the Ages. I'm the only one who read it in my class. When are you going to write the 8th book?
How's Hogwarts? Will you be having another adventure? I love your nonmuggleness and your wand.
Chetana Pai, Age 17
I was 10 years old when the last Harry Potter book came out. Many of my friends had already read the first six and were waiting for the seventh, but I made a conscious decision not to start on the first one until all seven books were available. Once they were, I read them through, straight, in a week, and the world changed forever. There on, for many years, I had this parallel HP thought-track running in my head. In any situation, I would have a “What would Dumbledore say?” moment or a “What would Harry do?” moment (although, in my case, it was more “What would Ron do?” He is my favourite).
As I grew older, the HP connection continued through social media fan pages – it was surreal to be able to connect to so many fellow humans across the world who had gone through exactly the same experience, and felt exactly the same way about HP.
Happy Birthday, Harry! Happy birthday, JK Rowling!
Lavanya Sinha, Age 11
Dear Ms Rowling,
Firstly, I give my heartiest birthday wishes, to you, my role model, and, of course, to Harry, the Boy Who Lived. Up till now, I've always wanted to be a writer, and to influence other readers, and I cannot say how much you have inspired and amazed me.
I'm most definitely a reader, and always have been, but, as for every reader, there's always that one book that changes everything. For me, that book was Harry Potter And The Philospher's Stone and what followed. Harry's story just made so much sense. I had never read anything like it. From the first book to the last, everything was intertwined together beautifully and no question was left unanswered. You planned it to the last detail, leaving an explanation for everything, creating a whole new world through your writing. It all seemed so real, yet surreal at the same time. And, in fact, the series wasn't just a series, but a revelation.
Personally, fictional people are my favourite kind of people. And with Harry Potter, I got emotionally connected to them. I laughed with them, cried with them (literally), and when I finished all seven, all I wanted was more. Each character soon became my best ever friend, and they still are. I know that I can always read those books again and again, and feel their presence seep through me. And, well, if a human can't bring me comfort, then your books definitely can.
Your quote is the truest thing I've seen: “Whether you come back by the page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
And I, an obsessed, dedicated Potterhead, will always love and stand up for The Book That Changed It All. Today. Tomorrow. After all this time. Always.
Monica Pillai, Age 38
Happy 35th, Harry! I'm raising a butterbeer to your good health, and that of your family, and your friends. In a year, James will be off to Hogwarts... allow me to make a prophecy. The year after, Severus might need a little gentle persuasion that, in the words of your wonderful mentor, "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities". No, no. Don't thank me. I'm happy to give back just a little of the gentle nudge to the personality that I got when reading about your adventures.
Dear JK Rowling:
Happy birthday, you most wonderful writer! I re-read all the Harry Potter books each December - it makes that magical time of year cheerful and full of hope. For me, the books have grown over the years in scope and their ability to inspire, instruct and help introspect. Thank you, for making the role of a mentor in the life of a Seeker apparent. I've wanted - and now have my own Dumbledore - and my life has blossomed with wit and wisdom. I owe you a ton!
Jayesh Paranjape, Age 34
Happy Birthday Harry!
Hope you have a good year and not get into trouble the way you did every year when you were at Hogwarts. I started reading the books on insistence of a friend and with my multiple reads, he almost feels like a muggle in front of my wizarding knowledge!
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Updated Date: Jul 31, 2015 16:38:18 IST