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.

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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.’

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Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter One

A deck of cards was neatly placed on the table. The room was dark with vision only possible through the burning candles at the corners. A girl, who seemed to be 16 in age, picked up the cards and began shuffling the deck. She wore a pointed hat. Her name was Meera.

Meera careful spread out the cards like a fan over the table, and picked each card and arranged them in particular order. Her face looked miserable, as if something was not right. Somebody at a distance was shouting her name. The voice got louder and nearer, but Meera continued frowning over the sight of the cards.

‘I’m going to burn these down,’ somebody’s sore voice said as the room turned bright with the fluorescent bulbs.

Meera continued ignoring the threat. After placing the final card, a Queen of Spades, over a bunch of others,  she looked up at the invader of her room. It was her sister.

‘Mayna, I don’t want to be rude. But I’m working on something,’ Meera said.

Mayna looked at her younger sister with suspicion. Meera’s fascination with card tricks often shocked Mayna. They are not real, she ofter told her younger sister. But Meera continued to return to her dingy room, lit with only candles as she wore her fancy hat and shuffled the deck of cards, imagining a crowd of people watching her perform.

‘It’s past 12,’ Mayna argued. Meera continued looking carefully at the pattern of cards that had emerged in front of her.

‘And you haven’t had breakfast yet?’ she question looking up, finally gazing away from the table.

‘No. If I didn’t you wouldn’t.’

Meera removed her hat and sighed. The sisters left the room to have what they called breakfast, during middle of the day.

After reaching the kitchen upstairs, Mayna arranged a piece of roti and milk tea. Meera looked out of the window. A wooden monument stood across their house. The Red Durbar in red bricks. People were climbing the terrace of the monument which was a temple. It must be cleaning time of the year, she assumed at the sight.

‘A roti and biscuit for you, with black tea,’ Mayna said.

They munched on the slim food. The small house beside the Red Durbar seemed empty except for the two sisters. It was mid day and the hot wind of summer was still blowing at its best. The sound of the sisters chewing on their food continued for a few more minutes. Meera got up first and placed her plate and cup on the sink.

It was Saturday afternoon which meant that the sisters were due to clean the house as always. Meera insisted on cleaning up the kitchen and then the living room. Mayna had almost forgotten about their schedules. She moved out to clean the bedroom and the store.

Meera picked up a broom by the door and started sweeping the kitchen. After a full hour of scrubbing, washing and wiping, she could see the kitchen gleaming, now free of dust. Satisfaction swept over her.

She picked up the broom and placed it inside one of the cabinets. She firmly closed the doors and moved to the sink to wash her dirty hands. As she dried her hands and moved towards the door, a sudden noise stopped her.

The cabinet laid open, the broom had fallen off. Meera had closed the door. Was there anyone else in the room? Had a thief broken into their house? There wasn’t much to steal but what if the thief stabbed them to death in rage?

Meera looked for signs of intrusion, there were none. She placed the broom inside the cabinet and tried to exit, as quickly as possible. But before she could reach the door, the same noise stopped her again. A creepy feeling ran down her. Something was not right. Before she could turn back, Meera asked:

‘Whose there?’

There was no answer. She turned back and saw the broom on the floor. The cabinet doors were wide open. How could it have been? She had locked it. Meera picked up the broom. She couldn’t tell if she was looking at it or if it was looking at her. Once more she placed the broom inside the cabinet. Before she could close the door, it fell off. Nervous, Meera lifted it and threw it at the corner. It hit the wall by the window with a loud bang. A fume rose and Meera creeped backwards to save herself.

When she opened her eyes, her face seemed lifeless, like she had seen a ghost. A figure had emerged where the fume had been as the smoke settled. Meera was sure she was dreaming. All she had to do was to wake up and it would all be gone. By then the figure had begun waving, what seemed like a man’s hand. He bought his hands together and pressed his palms against one another.

‘Namaste, Namaste!’ he said.

Meera thought her ears had fused off. His voice seemed strange. He certainly had to be a stranger for the accent he carried.

‘K…ta…pa….yi……,’ he continued. Meera wasn’t sure what he wanted to say. But he ate his words as he spoke.

‘ang…gree..zi,’ he added.

Suddenly Meera understood what he was trying to say. She shook her head to reply yes to whatever he wanted to ask.

‘Phew, I was hoping you’d speak English,’ he said. He spoke faster than earlier, completely contradicting his previous speaking skills.

‘You know I have been learning Nepali for a few weeks to make sure at least I got the greetings correct.’

He was quick to add, ‘How was it?’

‘It was ok,’ Meera replied.

She did not know why she had begun this conversation with someone who had appeared out of thin air. She was still sure, that this was a dream.

‘Now, I’m Professor Zuck, from Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry,’ he said with confidence.

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The Golden Ladder

‘Who will play first?’ the old lady asked.

‘The one who comes up with the highest number on the dice,’ the girl said.

The old lady nodded in agreement. ‘Bring the board,’ she said.

The little girl moved towards the corner of the room, dimly lit with spider webs at the edges. The rack was dusty, like no one had visited the place in ages.

‘Ha….shooo,’ the little girl sneezed and rubbed her eyes.

The metal board was heavy and had numbers from one to hundred carved over the surface with tiny little squares. The little girl hadn’t seen it before and wondered how the game is played. She knew a little about the dice which was used in the game.

She walked back to the place where the old lady was seated. The place was bright with the rays of the newly awaken sun entering through the windows.

‘You roll the dice first, Ma,’ the little girl said, grabbing the glass dice from the pocket and handing it to the lady.

‘Do you know the rules of the game, Arki?’ the old lady asked.

‘I know about the dice,’ she said.

The old lady wiped the board and it shone like a fine piece of metal. The little girl’s eyes widened by the sight.

‘Is it true, is it true?’ she asked anxiously.

‘Yes it is,’ the old lady replied. ‘The game is run by magic,’ she added.

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