Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Five

A quick recap: Chapter One, Two, Three & Four.

A few days after the Quidditch selection, Benny seemed better. Meera knew that she was a little mad at being rejected. But surprisingly enough, Benny still showed up at Quidditch practices to cheer her friends. Meera was a little worried if it helped Benny, but Benny did not seem bothered as she was the day the names were pasted on the door, so Meera let it go.

It was misty morning as the colder months approached. The Quidditch practices continued as a major tournament was ahead of them. Meera was running to reach the practice ground. The group had already gather and were warming up.

‘Hi!’ said Neal as Meera reached.

‘Hi!’ she said panting.

‘Benny’s not going to show up?’ Neal asked.

‘No, she got some extra homework to finish.’

‘Better get ready for practice.’

At a distance Li was waving. Meera waved back as Neal tried to smile. She wasn’t sure if he was really waving at them. Li was the team captain and the keeper of the team. It was his job to keep the opposite team from scoring. Neal was the seeker, which was rather unexpected. Nobody thought he could take up that role, even Neal himself was a little reluctant. But as the days progressed, he proved to be one of the best the team could ever have. Redna and Gia were the beaters while Meera, Yuki and Kate were the chasers.

A new professor named Plutus was overseeing the entire Quidditch game for the Hogwarts team. He was a serious looking person who did not speak much but made the team practice really hard. It seemed like he had made his life’s mission to win the league.

‘If we don’t do well, Plutus will keep us till nightfall,’ Gia said as the team gathered closer.

‘The league begins in one week’s time,’ added Li. ‘And we shall be playing against Durmstang.’

‘I hear the team at Durmstrang is really good,’ said Neal.

Neal always had some information to share with the team. No one knew exactly where did he get his bits of information from and no one really asked. Meera did try, but Neal did not seem to want to reveal his sources.

‘Plutus is coming!’ gasped Redna. She particularly did not like him.

‘Everyone back to work!’ said Li.

Meera nodded.

The next two hours were filled with broom sticks flying left and right, the team members zooming in from there and here. Sometimes it felt like a state of chaos to Meera. When Plutus nodded to let them leave, everyone was exhausted as they hurriedly left for the Great Hall to have dinner.

A separate table had been arranged for the team. Meera thought it made them feel special but she also felt like it was quite unnecessary as they attracted so much of attention. Benny often peaked out of the side of the Hufflepuff table to have a look at Meera and Neal. She had other friends too, but it was clear she missed them.

As everyone sat down in a rush, Meera was surprised to find Li sitting next to her. He smiled as she sat down.

‘You did well today,’ he said.

‘Thanks,’ Meera said, running out of anything particular to say. ‘You’re always great,’ she was quick to add.

‘Nah, I’m just trying,’ he added.

Meera felt like she was so inadequate at conversations. What should she say next? How about how classes are going? But what would she say? Classes with students much younger than herself? How was it like? Maybe she should just keep quiet, yes that would be best. Maybe he’d say something interesting.

‘So how did you get to come to Hogwarts?’ he asked.

Yes, something interesting, Meera thought.

‘I’m not sure myself. Zuck just appeared out of thin air,’ she said and instantly regretted. Perhaps there was a better explanation, something that was really truly hooking. Sadly, there wasn’t.

Continue reading “Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Five”

Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Four

Refresh your memory with Chapter One, Two and Three.

It had already been six months since the first time Meera came to realize that she was a witch. She missed home dearly, especially her sister. Hogwarts was sealed with magic so there was no way she could use muggle devises like smart phones. Thanks to her friends Neal and Benny, Meera seemed to be catching up with her classes. Professor Zuck and Rufus had also been giving extra lessons to help her.

An owl flew over to Meera’s table during breakfast.

‘It’s got a letter for you,’ Benny said casually.

‘I haven’t received a single letter since coming here,’ Meera exclaimed. Was it shock or happiness, no one could tell.

‘Then may be its time you do,’ added Neal, putting some tomatoes over his plate.

She detached the letter from the owl’s feet and opened it. It was from Mayna.

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Signs, Meera thought. What kind of signs?

By the time Meera turned up, Benny was running.

‘Bye Meera, late for my extra class!’ she said waving.

Meera did not like how Mayna had behaved with her. She had not uttered a single word about magic, despite being a witch herself. Even when Zuck arrived to get Meera, Mayna refused to say anything that would clear her mind. And now she added the confusion by asking Meera to look out for signs.

Meera stood up and headed towards her dormitory. Mayna’s words troubled her. What was coming ahead? Could she avoid it? She was completely lost in her own world until, she knocked over someone.

‘Oh sorry!’ she said. Meera flushed. It was Li.

Meera had previously been able to thank Li for saving her from the rotten eggs, thanks to Benny’s constant encouragement. But this was not expected. Li’s bag was on the floor with his books spread out. Meera immediately picked them up and handed it over.

‘I’m really sorry,’ she said again.

‘Not a problem at all.’

Meera had already moved a few steps ahead when Li called out.

‘Eh, Meera!’ he said.

She did not know what to do. What did he want anyway?

‘Ah yes,’ she said turning back.

‘Ahh…school’s looking to form a Quidditch team. Professor Zuck told me that you’re quite good at flying. How about you give it a try?’

Meera stood there, frozen for a few seconds.

‘Ah…I’m…n-o-t sure if I can manage to fly.’

‘Really? Professor Zuck was really impressed.’

‘Really?’

Li nodded.

‘I’ll think about it then.’

‘If you’d like to try out, be there at the Quidditch ground tomorrow at 4.’

She nodded and walked out as quickly as she could. Why was Li asking her to play Quidditch, why? Is this a sign? She dissed the thought out of her head. She decided that Mayna was just playing games as always, even when she was not close by.

Meera put the letter under her pillow and carried her books. She could see the sky through one of the little windows beside her bed. The sky was clearer today. May be should could fly, she thought for a moment. After all she had managed to the very first time without much of a problem.

She hurried back to her class where she met Benny.

‘So, Li asked you to try out for the Quidditch team?’ she asked with a glare in her eyes.

How did she know, Meera thought.

‘Don’t be surprised,’ Benny added. ‘Anything that Li does is bound to become news, especially when it involves you. So are you going to go?’

‘I don’t know. I’ve never played Quidditch before.’

Continue reading “Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Four”

Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Three

Take a quick recap: Chapter One and Two.

Meera followed the Prefect to the Hufflepuff dormitory. The entrance to the dormitory was the same as the kitchen. Meera followed quietly trying not to signal a single sound of amazement.  When they reached the entrance with large barrels, the Prefect tapped the second barrel from the bottom four time in a distinct rhythm. Meera was told to memorize the rhythm which is the only way to enter the dormitory.

‘Tap—Tap-Tap———-Tap.’ This was presumably the rhythm of Helga Hufflepuff, the founder of the Hufflepuff house. The barrel opened revealing an entrance to the dormitory. Meera is amazed to see the room. It was cheerful as were the students already inside of it. The common room was decorated with colors of earth, and the house colors black and yellow. The honey colored wooden furnitures and the plants placed neatly on the walls, added to the ambience of the room.

Neal, the boy who Meera had met earlier was already sitting in one of the wooden chairs. He rose as he saw Meera arrive. There was a little girl with him, who seemed a lot younger than him.

‘Meera, meet my sister Benny,’ he said. Benny raised her hand to wave and said, ‘Hello’ in her meek little voice. They were to share the same dormitory.

Neal’s sister was starting her first year in Hogwarts and he was extremely happy that Benny had been sorted into Hufflepuff. He also told Meera that it was not necessary despite being family, that they should be sorted into the same house.

‘How do you come to Hogwarts then?’ he asked Meera.

‘To be honest, I do not know,’ Meera replied.

‘May be Meera’s a great witch…and so,’ Benny was quick to add. But she shyly turned away immediately.

Meera smiled. ‘Thanks,’ she said. May be Hogwarts wasn’t that odd after all.

Meera’s classes were to begin the next day. She was to start with the first years with a couple of extra subjects to be able to cover as much as possible. She looked at the heavy bag Zuck had bought for her. It was filled with books of all kinds. While the topics looked much different from what she had ever seen, the fact that she had to learn all of it made her realize that magic must be studied too. It wasn’t something that was passed down or given without effort.

Meera entered the first class. It was called Charms. A tiny little professor, who was named Zelda was already sitting. The students were ready to begin the class. Meera sat down besides Benny.

‘Wands out!’ Professor Zelda said sharply.

Meera searched her little bag for her wand. She remembered putting everything Benny had told her the night earlier. But she could not find her wand. How could she perform magic without it? She looked left and right. Everyone was ready. Meera felt ashamed for not knowing something so obvious.

‘I don’t have mine,’ she said meekly.

‘Magic without wands!’ yelled a girl from behind, giggling. She was Redna from Ravenclaw.

‘Silence!’ Professor Zelda said. ‘You will have to go and get your wand Meera.’

Continue reading “Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Three”

Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Two

Can’t recall the first chapter? Click here.

Meera was skeptic as ever. It was tearing her apart. She didn’t want to go, but Zuck’s words ringed in her ears. Your country’s magic council wants you to study magic at Hogwarts. She didn’t know why she needed to believe someone who had appeared out of thin air. But for some reason she felt it would be equal to betraying if she denied something she was chosen to do. To make things worse, Mayna kept shut. Even after many pleadings, she would not tell Meera more than what Zuck had told her.

It was the 14th day, the day of the no moon. Zuck could appear anytime and Meera would have to make a decision that would challenge everything she ever knew. She was nervous and scared.

Was she ever coming back if she left? Would she ever see her city and the familiar temples again? What if Zuck was a fraud? What if he had given Mayna some crazy medicine to get her to play along? What if he was blackmailing her?

Despite all these questions her suitcase was neatly packed and placed in the corner of her room. Meera knew that Mayna had been keeping a close watch on her as her older sister kept passing by her room every hour since dinner.

It was close to 10 o’ clock at night and there was no sign of Zuck. Meera had begun to think that perhaps it was all a joke after all as she laid over her bed. He wasn’t going to come. And she could place all her clothes back into her closet and sleep.

It was quarter past 11 and Meera had almost fallen asleep when a noise woke her up. She could see a gigantic face looking at her from above. In a flash she screamed and moved towards the edge of the bed. The window was wide open.

‘Got stuck in traffic!’ Zuck said floating in the air seated on his broom as he placed a big bag on the ground. ‘Had to visit Diagon Alley to get all your things for school Meera. Here’s your robe and your books.’

Meera was still by the edge of her bed. Zuck had come after all and now her heart was going to explode.

‘I see your suitcase is packed. So do you want to leave then?’ he asked. ‘But I suggest you change into your robes before heading out.’

Meera knew Mayna was across the door as it flung open.

‘Greetings Zuck!’ said Mayna.

‘Ah greetings to you too Mayna,’ he replied.

Meera could not digest the familiarity in their voices as they greeted each other. But that was less than important at the moment. Zuck looked at her waiting for an answer.

‘I will come,’ she said. Mayna smiled as if she had always known the outcome. Meera changed her clothes which was clearly big for her. Zuck looked sorry for the mismatch. But there was no time.

‘Mount your broom,’ Zuck said, ‘Locomotor!’ he yelled as he waved his wand and her suitcase and the bag he had bought started flying in the air. ‘You’ve never flown that long, but there’s no other way as of now to go to Hogwarts from here. So hold on tight.’

Meera mounted her broom and bid her farewell to her sister and they slowly started flying through the window. Mayna peeked out and yelled, ‘Take care of her Zuck!’ Zuck nodded as they disappeared.

Continue reading “Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Two”

Reading Harry Potter at 20 something

Vantage Points

I grew up along with two cousin sisters. We started by playing house. We cooked fake dinners and served imaginary tea. Then we moved on to barbie dolls, online dress up games, art and craft (which I sucked at!). After a point it was now time for exams and school assignments (which still hasn’t left us yet!). But whenever we met, there was a time dedicated specially for Harry Potter. My sisters became Potterheads while they were quite young. I on the other hand, listened to the stories they retold. While I had never read the books and watched only a few of the films, their narration of the Hogwarts world never ceased to make me wonder.  But I never picked up the books, not even from the school library.

Enchanted by the magical world, I continued listening to the stories they told me for many years to come. Sometimes it was about the Patronus, other times about Lily Potter and then Severus Snape. It was even more fascinating to see the two of them try their level best to narrate all the interesting portions from the books and the films as young teens.

One fine day last year I picked up the books, courtesy of one of the same Potterhead sister who had just bought the entire series. The covers looked interesting with the illustrations of the famous Harry Potter with his scar. Then, I read, and read, and read.

Three books later, I can slowly understand what was it in the stories my sisters retold that enchanted me so much many years ago. It was the look in their eyes, how innocently they believed in the story and still do, the warm feeling that lingers after you finish reading each chapter and the urge to know what happens next. Now, Harry Potter references are a common thing between the three of us. The bond between us has grown stronger and special in its own way.

Here are my favorite quotes from the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the 20th year anniversary of its release.

‘You flatter me,’ said Dumbledore calmly. ‘Voldemort had powers I will never have.’

‘We can only guess,’ said Dumbledore. ‘We may never know.’

‘I would trust Hagrid with my life,’ said Dumbledore.

There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve foot mountain troll is one of them.

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.

‘And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?’
‘Throw it away and punch him on the nose,’ Ron suggested.

To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.

Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.

It takes great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

I’d like to believe there’s a reason why I began reading Harry Potter at 20 something instead of 12, and the magic is still as strong as ever. I continue to remain awe stuck at the the world crafted by J.K. Rowling through her fine words.

With each page I turn, I marvel at the power of literature, words and stories. I smile, I hope and I dream. And I continue to write.