I was 10 years old when my sister introduced me to the magical world of Harry Potter. I didn't know what to expect and went along with it. I was an introvert, living in my world of imaginary friends and back then, I wasn't sure if they were any different from 'real people'.
And then I met Harry Potter!
The boy who lived was played by a 13-year-old Daniel Radcliffe. Back then, I couldn't distinguish much between the character and the actor & so Daniel became Harry Potter for me. After all, he was also new to this world, just like the rest of us!
It was his innocence and his clueless-ness that led to me believe whatever he said.
He was one of us but then landed up on a train to the best place in the world. It led to a castle where all of us wanted to be. We've all tirelessly waited for our Hogwarts letter and were only glad when he found his home.
He was special and didn't even know it.
With each passing year, a new Harry Potter adventure played out in front of our very eyes but what remained unchanged was our loyalty towards Harry a.k.a. Daniel.
We believed Daniel when he fought against the Basilisk and destroyed the first Horcrux.
And we were so relieved when he finally found a father figure.
But as we grew up, so did Daniel.
He was the boy who was constantly fighting against all the odds. By the time the fourth film released, I had a huge crush on the actor. Not that I was cheering any less for Harry to defeat the Dark Lord, I was now in love with the boy who played Harry and no matter what happened, he had to win!
After all, he appreciated magic like we do!
Watching Harry have a crush on Cho Chang made me a little jealous but it was so cute to watch him getting flustered at the sight of his crush.
But it was in the fifth movie, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, that my love for Daniel grew stronger. He said what we all wanted to, hated the mean teacher just like the rest of us and was just as confused about his life.
Daniel channeled his perplexed adolescent feelings in this one and came out a champion.
When Harry lost Sirius Black, it was the hardest thing to watch. He had finally met a part of his past and it was taken away, so soon.
Daniel, by then, had become a prolific actor. He had a commanding screen presence yet he managed to portray a teenager to perfection. Like Harry in the movies, Daniel was after all the chosen one.
He might have gotten the part as a young child but never for a second could we think of any other actor who could do it as well as him.
As Harry's story drew to a close, we wanted to savour each moment on screen. When Harry found out he had misunderstood Snape all his life, it made us realise how our point of view was always restricted by things we perceive. It was shattering for Harry and for us too.
We always knew Harry would defeat Voldemort, because that's what heroes do. But Daniel never behaved like the cocky hero who was bound to win; he struggled for it and that made his victory all the more special.
Harry Potter was our childhood and thanks to Daniel, we could put a face to the name.
And not just any face, we had a face we'll be proud to introduce to our kids and grandkids. He became the hero of this generation.