Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: An Experience

27th July, 2007

[Spoiler Alert: Plot Details Follow! Please don’t read if you don’t want them revealed!]

When I first got my hands on the book, there seemed to be a magnetic personality inside it – I just could not take my eyes off it, and I was dying to start reading it!

Once I started reading it, I could not stop! I forgot hunger, thirst, rest… I even refused to answer nature’s call! At that moment, I was irresistibly reminded of a dialogue of Ron’s in the Chamber of Secrets – there are books which are jinxed, so that once you start reading them, you just can’t stop!!!

Stuck in pretty much a similar situation, I was wondering if JKR has a Magic Quill, or an Elder wand with which she jinxes her books!

I finished the book in ten hours flat. I just could not stop, I could not resist. Dark, dangerous and painful – the journey I undertook with Harry was definitely not easy. Each death made my eyes sting, every turn of events made me breathless, and the various revelations through the book made me gasp.

Hedwig. I never, ever thought Harry would have to lose her. The pretty snowy wise owl who’d been with him through thick and thin during all these years! She was so much a part of the journey that her absence pricked…

Remus and Tonks… right after the birth of their son… leaving only young Harry to look after the child as his Godfather. That brought tears to my eyes. But, when I think, perhaps Harry will indeed be the best Godfather for Teddy Lupin – being an orphan himself, I’m sure he’ll never let Teddy feel the same way.

I definitely did not think Fred Weasley would leave us all – how could the boy, the one who made all of laugh, leave us with tears in our eyes? I thought we’d seen the worst when George lost his ear…

Snape. I always knew he was not with Voldemort. And somehow, it felt so unfair that he never got to prove his true loyalties. And it felt even worse to know that he died, not while saving the world from the Dark Lord, but because Voldemort did not give a damn about his followers.

A small part of me was hoping Dobby would not die. It was so pathetic that no one could do a thing, and Harry just had to watch him die, in front of his eyes. So befitting that Bellatrix Lestrange got the death she deserved, after Sirius and Dobby.

I was also hoping that Harry would keep the Elder wand and the Resurrection Stone… master of the Deathly Hallows, master of Death… Though he already is immortal in our hearts, yet, the fact that he would be immortal in JKR’s world was so desired… of course, when I truly analyse Harry’s character, it was highly unlikely that he’d keep them for himself.

Kreacher’s transformation was so welcome! I could not believe my eyes when in the penultimate scenes, Kreacher was found to be leading the house-elves of Hogwarts in the war against the Dark Lord!

And R.A.B. – somehow I always knew it’d be Regulus Black. Figured it out when I finished the Sixth Book!

The Horcruxes – Slytherin’s locket, Hufflepuff’s cup, Ravenclaw’s diadem, Tom Riddle’s diary, Marvolo’s ring, Nagini and Harry – amazing, truly amazing! And the Dark Lord could not use anything of Griffindor’s, because, of course, what better thing to destroy those Horcruxes with than the sword of Godric Griffindor! How truly extraordinary, and how very JKR! She comes up with the unthinkable, and like a skilled worksman, entwines it with the unimaginative!

Harry’s journey was tougher than one can imagine… but we, the ones who’ve also undertaken the journey with him, felt no less pain. With each of the characters passing away, I felt tears gather in my eyes. It was like losing a family member. When they dueled with the enemy, I felt my stomach clench as though my own loved ones were risking their lives.

It was a breathtaking, painstaking seven year journey that we all undertook, JKR! Thanks for this amazing experience. Just like you, we also feel so relieved that it has ended at last, and yet, sorrow overcomes us when we contemplate a life sans Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger and the whole lot of them, not to mention the amazing life of rule-bending at Hogwarts!

Could you please give us another series about James Harry Potter, Albus Severus Potter, Lily Harry Potter, Rose Ronald Weasley, Hugo Ronald Weasley, Teddy Remus Lupin, Sinclair Draco Malfoy and of course, Professor Neville Longbottom at Hogwarts? Please??? Just to make us feel that “all was well” indeed?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Been Rambling Again...

15th July, 2007

I wonder – aloud at times, silently at others…

This place, this metropolitan city, which has been my home ever since I was born, seems to cage my spirit these days. It hurts. There was a time when this jungle of hard, concrete structures used to be home to me.

But now, I call that home. That city where I’ve just spent five years of my life.

Why is it that I feel stifled in Kolkata? Why do I feel as if something is amiss? What is this strong desire to break free? Which shackles do I want to break anyway?

Pune was beauty… it brought me close to Mother Nature. Pune was freedom… I could do what I felt like. Pune was simple joys… it allowed us to live for the day.

And Kolkata?

Nature is unavailable here… there are no hills to climb in the city, no sunsets to admire by the lakes, no greenery filled temples to go to…

Freedom is an alien word… every move is to be measured, every word is to be weighed, every action is expected to take into account the equal and opposite reaction…

Joys, if any, are no longer simple…

Sometimes aloud, silently at times – I wonder… What is it that I’ve lost? What is it that I am searching for? What is it that makes my heart ache?

I’m with my family, my loved ones. I’m working in one of India’s biggest, richest, most famous brands. I’ve good colleagues and a superb boss. I’m earning a handsome amount. I’m planning for my future – house, car and all the luxuries that one can think of… and yet, I am unhappy?!

When I sit and ponder, I feel I’ve lost the one thing that is the most important of all. The one thing, without which everything tastes bland – love.

Pune taught me how to love with unrestrained passion. Something which Kolkata never has, and never will allow me to do. There are so many things to think about – love simply does not find a place among them.

I wonder – silently at times, aloud at others…

In today’s life, true love is naught but a compromise. It is just a give-n-take relationship, where both lose something to gain something – a business deal. Marriages are not made in Heaven any longer. They’re made right here, for considerations like money, status, and so many other things. “The boy is well-settled, and he’s the only son – there’s no harm in going out once. If you don’t like him, we’ll search for someone else!” If that someone else doesn’t suit you, then there’ll be a second someone else, then a third and a fourth and a fifth… some will be well-settled in the US, some will have rich parents, some will have some other plus point… what they all will be lacking is “love”.

To put an end to the relationship with the man of my choice was my decision. I did so to make my family happy, and his too. But from where I’m standing today, I feel I had murdered my own happiness. I throttled my dreams and my hopes with my own hands.

And that’s what I miss today – that love, companionship, happiness… something that, I know, will never come back to me… As much as I cry, as much as I scream my lungs out to ask him, “Come back… Please come back…” I know he will not. And nor will all the things that, once upon a time, used to make my day.

I’ll continue to lead the rest of my life in this cage. I’ll never get what I’m searching for. Because true love happens only once in life, when you are not too busy counting your profits… And if you lose it once, it never comes back.

Such is the price we pay for not listening to our hearts…

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Letter… A Short Story

Dear Somesh,

For quite sometime now, I’ve been debating with myself. Should I bare my heart to you? Or should I keep it to myself, all that I want you to know? You always endorse following the heart, don’t you? So here you go – I’m following my heart, and writing to you.

You already know I want to talk about that night of passion we shared, don’t you? Good – I can skip the painful introductions…

I had so much to tell you that night. At every stage, at every point, I wanted to speak my mind out, but I bit those words back… Frankly, it is not at all clear to me too why I chose silence. Maybe I should actually have spoken.

Nevertheless, better late than never.

There is something that I’ve always wanted to ask you. What is it exactly that you feel for me? Your feelings for me have confused me for long. Would you term it as love? Or is it just a weakness, or maybe a soft corner? Or is it a mere physical desire? You mentioned that night, “its not just sex”. Then what is it really? You meant you feel something special for me. What is it that you feel?

I could sense you emanating a pulsing desire for me. I knew it was coming ever since you had started inching closer to me, and Heaven knows I was feeling as helpless as a kitten at that time. Possibly you’ve never realized, but at times like this, when you feel that “something special” for me, your body language, your way of speaking to me, your way of looking at me – everything changes. Your voice oozes love, and you talk to me as if you want to engulf me in your arms. If I can feel it from your voice, can you imagine how strong those vibes must be?!

You were right in a way – I couldn’t sleep because of you. Those strong vibes emanating from your persona were actually forcing me to keep awake. You were snuggling into my shoulder, wrapping your arm around my waist, entwining your legs with mine – I could not really have slept, could I? I was feeling the slow but certain progress, but I just could not understand how to dam it.

I did try to hold myself back. I stopped you once. But your dismayed, pained withdrawal pierced my heart. You will not understand why I feel bad whenever I rebuff you and your advances. You perhaps don’t even believe that I do feel bad while doing such things. But the truth is that I’m not made of stone.

I count very few people as my friends – and those whom I do count as friends, mean a lot to me. I love my friends a lot. As I’ve told you earlier, and I’m telling you again – I count you as a friend.

Nobody likes hurting or disappointing a person he/she loves. If your beloved best friend asks for something, and you can’t give it to him, you won’t be feeling too happy about it, will you? I too don’t feel like denying you what you want. It hurts me to hurt you again and again.

To add to my woes, you felt that sleeping on different beds would be the best solution. Was that your idea of tying to make me feel better? Honestly, I felt it was your way of striking an open wound. I was already feeling terrible about having pushed you away so mercilessly, and your actions suggested that you feel I don’t trust you!

I wondered, and I still do: why did you want to make love to me that night? “It’s not just about sex. It’s the way I am feeling about you right now.” I so wanted to ask you, “What is it that you feel for me?” For you have told me earlier that you don’t “love” me. Then what is it that you feel for me that makes you want to make love to me?

I have always felt that you never wanted a “one-night-stand” with me. You desired much, much more – and something much more lasting.

But you knew that we don’t have a future together. Was it because of this knowledge that you wanted this to be a one-night-stand? You did not answer that question. All you said was that at times, we should just listen to our hearts, and not seek answers to everything. And that “it’s not just about sex”.

When you asked my permission the second time to go ahead, I could only tell you not to have any further expectations. I could not stop you. I did not have the heart to deny that permission. For once, I really wanted to make you happy. Remember you asked if I was letting you have your way with me only because you wanted it? To a certain extent, it was actually because of your desires that I gave in, but to a certain extent it was for me too.

I am happily in love with someone else, and you know that. Of course, I wouldn’t want to have a relationship, or even a one-night-stand, with anyone else. But I gave in to you, and I allowed you to have me for the night, even though I knew I would never be able to enjoy it. And I don’t feel guilty about it. Do you know why?

Let’s go back to the example of your beloved best friend asking for something from you, which you can’t give him. What is the next best thing that you will do for him? You’ll try to make it up by doing something else, or giving something else to him, just to make him feel somewhat better.

That one night of passion was the next best thing that I could offer you.

It is after all a man’s love that makes a woman beautiful. And as much as it may hurt you, I’m beautiful because of Armaan. You know that.

Your friend,

Sunday, July 08, 2007

“Kid”- ish Blues!!!

08th July, 2007

“You look so kiddish!”, “You just don’t look your age!”, “I can’t believe you are that old!” – I am pretty used to hearing such comments from people around. (I refuse to take it as a compliment; you’ll understand why if you read any further) And quite obviously, I hate it! Try as I might, I just don’t seem to crack my “baby” image… so much so, that my office colleagues openly address me by pet names commonly given to babies, and my boss calls me her “bachcha” [which means “baby”]! What’s more, there are two more colleagues of mine who are of the same age as I am, and yet, it is only me who is subjected to this ignominy!

Let me relate a few recent events which have made me squirm and blush madly, and which have prompted me to write this, to my readers here!

Thanks to the non-stop rains that had submerged Kolkata in the past week, and the water-logged streets that I had to wade through on my way to office, I’d been wearing a short skirt to office. Once I reached, I’d change into my usual trousers. All this, I tried my best to accomplish without getting noticed by my colleagues! Unfortunately, I never quite achieved it!

The worst was the day a colleague of mine and I entered office together, but he didn’t acknowledge me. Later, he apologized by saying, “Oh, I was wondering who this little girl is! I really didn’t recognize you!”

A session at the beauty salon was long overdue, and the first chance I got was well utilized towards the same! The Salon that I usually visit is the most famous in our locality, and does a lot of Bridal make-up. And this is the season of marriages in Kolkata. Quite naturally, the “brides” get the first preference, while customers like yours truly have to wait patiently for their turn to come! Hence, what usually takes me three hours at the Salon, took five long hours that day!

Now, the quiet person that I am, I chose not to complain and patiently make do with the slow service that I was getting, with a smile. After about four hours, one beautician (the one who had ushered me in) suddenly realized that I was still at the Salon. She exclaimed, “Arre, yeh bachchi to subah ke dus baje se aayi huyi hai! Khaana bhi nahi khaaya hoga isne! Jaao, kuchh le aao is ke liye! ” [Arre, this little girl has been here since ten in the morning! She’s not even had lunch, I’m sure! Go, get something for her!]

Within seconds, the entire Salon was busy pampering me, getting me something to eat, something to drink, something to fill my supposedly hungry stomach! And soon, there was a plate of chocolate cream biscuits and a bottle of Pepsi in front of me! All the other customers, including the Brides and the other customers who were also waiting for their turns, turned to look at me, surely wondering whether I was the daughter of a premium customer or of a VIP (surely they could not be thinking that I was either, because I “don’t look my age”, remember?!)

I was squirming with embarrassment. It took me another hour to get out of there, and within that hour, I was nearly force-fed the biscuits (by repeated questions about why I was not eating, and if I wanted a different flavor!), had been urged to eat a few more biscuits at least five times, and was asked ten times whether my hunger’s been satisfied!!! And all because, I, according to them, was a “little girl” who should not (or cannot) stay hungry and thirsty!

What a sticky and awkward situation!!!

People spend so much time and money trying out the many tips on “how to look younger”. I wish someone would tell me “how to look older”!!!