I was still in my impressionable, early adolescence when I first entered the world of Harry Potter. The enchanting lanes of Diagon Alley, the candy trolley on the Hogwarts Express & the shifting staircases at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry captured my imagination instantly. To be honest, I wanted a life like Harry Potter and it was all that I thought about back then. I spent hours thinking about what I would do if I ever had to face my Boggart.
I would have loved to be in a land of magicians, waving a wand and making potions but I was told that this doesn't happen in 'real life'. But there was something that I knew was possible and I prayed for it, everyday.
I wished for a best friend like Ron Weasley.
Ron was the friend I dearly wished I had. Harry's first train ride to Hogwarts was a strange experience for him but thanks to Ron, he found comfort in a place full of strangers.
Ron's reaction on seeing Harry's scar was simply priceless.
But he got over the initial excitement soon enough and they were back to being boys who bonded over sugar.
It was Ron's first year at Hogwarts as well but he knew more about the wizarding world than Harry did. After they learnt about the Philosopher's Stone, it was Ron's talent in chess that helped them protect it from Professor Quirrell.
And when the moment came, Ron sacrificed himself as a chess piece so Harry could go ahead and save the Stone.
It wasn't a one-off incident. He was always there when Harry needed him.
Ron wasn't fearless but he was courageous. He didn't let his fear of spiders get in the way of finding the truth about the Chamber of Secrets.
Ron trusted Harry immensely but felt cheated when Harry's name came out from the Goblet of Fire and you can't really blame him for that. Even though he was mad at him for a while, Ron still made sure that Harry got the message about the first task.
After all, he couldn't have left his friend in a pit with a bunch of dragons.
Ron was as human as the rest of us. He too got jealous of the attention that Harry got but that never coloured their friendship.
He knew that Harry was after all 'the chosen one' and he was always ready to support him no matter what.
Ron was the first to sign up for Harry's Defence Against the Dark Arts classes and was an essential part of Dumbledore's Army. He had complete faith in Harry and completely dedicated himself in the Horcrux Hunt.
He was highly conflicted when the trio was hiding out in the countryside after abandoning Grimmauld Place. The possession of the 'locket horcrux' created a lot of animosity within the group. The horcrux made him believe that Hermione would choose Harry over himself and he felt belittled.
But he returned like a true friend, saved Harry's life and destroyed the horcrux that mocked his insecurities.
Ron was a loyal friend. The one who would make any sacrifice for the sake of his friend and for the greater good.
Even though he was always the sidekick, he had no qualms about being one.
In Ron, Harry found a friend for life. He found a family he could depend upon. The Weasleys accepted Harry as their own and loved him just as much. Harry got presents for Christmas for the first time after Ron came into his life.
Ron knew how special Harry felt to be associated with a family. He rescued Harry from the Dursleys, invited him for the Quidditch World Cup and made him feel comfortable whenever he visited the Burrow.
It was Ron's friendship that made Harry confident. Because he knew that no matter what happened, he would always have a place to go back to.