Now, this is what I call a tough prompt – I can’t remember the last time I did not have a few books lying around, except….maybe….uh, there’s a little spark of memory here —
I was in seventh grade, and had ‘overgrown’ Enid Blyton. Well overgrown isn’t the right word, but I had finished seven mystery series be her, three sets of school stories and thousands of short stories. I had read all the Nancy Drew novels in my local library, and was now in the painful dilemma of trying to decide what to read further. Needless to say, I had quite high standards.
This was when my mother suggested that I give the ultra-famous Harry Potter series by JK Rowling a try.
“I have been reading quite a few reviews of it in newspapers. Apparently children all over the world love it”.
I wasn’t really enthused, “Ma, you know I don’t like all that magical mumbo-jumbo. I never liked ghost and fairy stories. I want real stories, mysteries if possible!”
But my mother was adamant, “People wouldn’t like it if there wasn’t something good in it. Read it. You might be surprised“.
I grudgingly agreed to borrow the first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone from the library, but made sure to borrow a Nancy Drew mystery at the same time. Just in case!
While we were still on the bus, I flipped the book open, and started reading the first chapter – The Boy Who Lived
I couldn’t put it down! The Nancy Drew mystery lay untouched, gathering dust, as I reveled in the magic of Rowling’s words. I was hooked.
The next two weeks, I dragged my mother to the library every alternate day for the next part, and gobbled it up with as much enthusiasm as I had read the first book. I forgot everything else in the world….including my studies. So my dad laid down a ruling – NO MORE BOOKS TILL AFTER EXAMS.
I was on the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and the verdict destroyed me. I just had to find out what happened next! The suspense was agonizing. Voldemort was out there somewhere, and(*SPOILER ALERT*) Dumbledore was dead! There were seven horcruxes and they could be anywhere! Ginny and Harry had broken up, and stupid Ron still hadn’t kissed Hermione! I had to know what happened next.
But my parents remained firm.
That night I dreamt of the seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I kept trying to pick it up and read it, but it kept moving away from my reach; so tantalizingly close yet just an inch away.
I pounced on it and was about to read it — when I woke up, and found myself clutching my pillow.
I burst into tears, which melted my mother’s heart long enough to let her make a bargain with me – I could get the book, but I had to finish it in one day.
It wasn’t a bad bargain. The book was so engaging that I could barely put it down anyway! I stayed up the entire night reading it, and fell asleep with the book still in my hands.
With Harry Potter began my newfound love for the fantasy genre. Soon Chronicles of Narnia followed. Followed by Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, Artemis Fowl, The Mediator Series and The Kane Chronicles. I remain an ardent fan till date, and all because:
Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.