Have you ever felt like the best, most comfortable company you have is an over-read, frail book you own? Because that is how I feel about a book series I happened to read 18 years ago.
A series I was introduced to by my older siblings, after reading page 1, all I wanted to do was escape to a real, yet magical place. A place that belonged to Harry Potter. And I swear to God, opening up the book felt like the book emanated light and happiness.
From that day onwards, there was no going back. I had entered the world of magic, I had officially started waiting for my letter to Hogwarts, I had mentally sorted myself into a house. I was officially the fourth, invisible friend Harry, Hermione and Ron had.
Without thinking twice, I would just take out one of the books from the series and start re-reading it. The warmth that spread over me kept me hooked to the book.
In fact, even now, whether I am nervous about something, whether stressed about an issue. Whether I am bored, or simply because there is nothing else to read, Harry Potter is my go to book series.
Whenever I felt like my world was crumbling down, whenever it felt like everything was all over the place, it was reading one of the books from the series that helped me feel in place again.
The simplicity and the deep connection to all the memories the book saw go by, makes me feel like it has been my partner through everything. You would always find one of the books on my bedside.
I remember all those years back, my siblings, my cousins and my friends would get in line to grab the new book. Waiting for hours at a stretch at early hours. The excitement of holding the new release was unmatched.
My sisters and I would then take turns to read the book and animatedly discuss every little detail till we got back to reading and ultimately finishing it.
The release of last book of the series felt like the end of an era. The tears, the overwhelming emotions were as real as could get. Losing any character felt like losing a family member.
The book, in a way, shaped how I feel and react emotionally. How I feel about love, friendship and lessons. I grew up with the series, one book after another.
Every character had its own lessons personally laid out for me. From learning to embody humility, to the words of wisdom that stayed with me, I also learnt that it was okay to give into emotions. All of the characters had become family, with all the books holding them together for me in one place. And choosing one was as difficult as can get.
In the third book, Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry blew up his aunt out of anger, out of sheer protectiveness and frustration, I felt it. The happiness he felt meeting a father figure he so well deserved, I felt it.
In the fifth book, Order of the Phoenix, when Harry Kept everything bottled up and finally burst out of emotions, it resonated the teenage emotions I felt at the time. Everything that took place had a special place in my life.
I would always relate to the intense emotions the trio felt throughout their school life. Be it loving a teaching or hating one. Be it the family time Harry had with the Weasleys or the time he spent with his friends and his mentor. The books reflected all of my emotions. And reading it over and over again has made me feel like I am in touch with myself.
It’s now that I realised how the plot line was so well thought out. All the connections book #1 had with book #7 amuses me each time I re-read the books. A few things that seemed like just ordinary mentions at first were now better understood.
Reading any book from the series feels like the first time, yet, it feels like meeting an old friend.
I would do anything to dive back into that world. And I have no intentions of ever letting go.
While I continue to occasionally read other books, I’ve honestly lost count as to how many times I have read the whole Harry Potter series, the series that makes me feel like I’m home.
Believe it or not, I am a full grown adult now but even then, somewhere I would like to believe that this world is real. That maybe, my letter did indeed, not reach me because of an overprotective elf.
Whatever it may be, I am thankful to this series I know will be a part of me forever.
And yes, when someone spots me reading the book and asks, “After all this time?” I do respond with an “Always”.