Sunday, 25 August 2013

Harry Potter Festival - Post 5 : Things from the Wizarding World which I would like to have :)

The Harry guy is still around, enthralling us all with his adventurous life and making us long to be a part of the Wizarding World. Apart from Harry's heroic yet ordinary life and Old Voldy's captivating ( yes, of course, he is captivating in his own way ) presence and the 'sound-so-familiar' student scenarios at Hogwarts, what fascinates us all is the ease of life in the wizarding world.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could use the Owls for sending letters and parcels ? How fun would it be, if we flew on brooms to school ? :-P Or visited friends through the floo network ? We shall surely love eating chocolate frogs for a dessert. A visit to Hogsmeade wouldn't be bad either. The Weasley's Wizard Wheezes would be a perfect place for a hang-out. And imagine shopping for your books and stuff at Diagon Alley !! :-P :-)

There are some personal favourite things which I would love to have as Sovereigns, though.

The Wand :
Forgot your keys ? ' Alohomora' - and your door is open !
Afraid of the dark ? ' Lumos' - and here's a bright light !
Afraid that the teacher would catch you talking ? ' Muffliato' :-P
Don't want to get wet ? ' Impervius' :-)
Need I explain further ?

The Pensieve - It is a big silver basin which stores memories and allows you to visit them. Not just yours, anyone's, for that matter. You could use your wand to draw out any memory you want in long silver strands and store them in a glass vial or something, and when you need to revisit that, open the vial and pour the contents to the pensieve and peer at it till the tip of your nose touches it and Voila ! you are sucked into the memory. What's more, you can watch your own memory from the third eye :-)
We all have many many memories which we don't want to carry....why not make use of the pensieve for that. Store all your wanted or unwanted memories in vials and revisit them in the Pensieve :-) and keep your sanity !

The Invisibility Cloak - yeah, use the cloak to sneak into the kitchen at night for that extra scoop of the ice-cream. Or wear the cloak and go to school, and see what the class looks like when you are absent :-P or frighten your friends :-] or gift it to a journalist friend of yours to help him/ her chase good stories :-)
Endless possibilities, indeed !!

Remembrall - well, howmuchever blessed I am with a good memory, it will not be harmful at all to have a rememebrall handy :-) I can never say when I will forget something and a small tennis sized ball turning red when I hold it tight is a good guide ;-)

Molly's Family  Clock - Wow ! The first time I read of this, I went wooooow !! Fancy having a clock like that home, with each of the members being assigned a place on it showing their whereabouts. For one thing, this is highly useful, because people at home will know if you are late from work or school and needn't worry then. But then, it shall make sure that you don't lie . Think of the society now, no one is safe on the streets, so a clock which points to ' mortal peril' on sensing the possible danger that you are in, is indeed a value addition to any home :-)

Two way mirrors - aah ! So I have one piece, my friend has another , and we communicate. Nice, no? Or my hubby is away,  we need to talk every day, we are wary of  humongous mobile bills, so we opt for the two-way mirror. What say ?

Well, I could do with some floo powder as well.
And a couple of decoy detonators.
And a pack of ton tongue toffees for miscreants.
And a set of extendable ears.
And a quick quotes quill.
And of course, the Marauders' Map.

Not a long, bad list, is it ? :-) :-P :-D

This post is a part of the Harry Potter Festival.
Logo Courtesy : The Philospher's Stone

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Harry Potter - Post 4 : The Best Characters in the Series

Homenum Revelio !

All the characters that feature in the Harry Potter series are superb, mainly because their super-heroism is limited to their knowledge of witchcraft or wizardry. Beneath that, they are just humans ; wonderful inhabitants of the Wizard world who are as curious about us , the less fortunate Muggles as we are about them.

We all have our personal favourites, don't we ? Apart from Harry, that is !
Harry 's name goes without saying. Anyone who diligently read the series would fall in love with him.
We have known him as a kid, as a teenager, as an adult. We can't help loving him for what he is and for what he is not :)

It is often the choice of the best from the rest that poses a challenge, because we wouldn't know who has to be picked and who be dropped, why so and what not...

Yet, we all do, at some point of time during our journey through the books, love some people more and some people less. Or realise that we shouldn't have judged him or her before a thorough understanding.

I pick five of my secret favourites :-)

The most lovable person, I feel, is Albus Dumbledore.
The tall, blue-eyed, long bearded, half-moon spectacled, every-flavour beans-loving Headmaster of Hogwarts.The one man in whose hands the reigns of the school are the safest. The one man who loves all alike, who sees through all facades,who learns from his past, who admits that he can commit mistakes, who was hailed by all as the only wizard Old Voldy was afraid of !!

The next one for me is Severus Snape.
Yes, you heard me right.
 The half-blood who loves Lily. The Potions Professor who detests Harry ( a feeling which Harry reciprocates) . The long haired boy who is often teased by James and his gang for no fault of his. The patient lover, who safeguards his love for Lily in his heart and lets the protection extend to Lily's only son because of his love for her. The accomplished Legilimens, who works as an ally to the Dark Lord, all the while being faithful to Dumbledore. The one person who actually turns the story around.

Then comes Hermione Granger.
First because she's a bookworm ( like I had been). Her hand bobbing up and down is just a sign of her enthusiasm and eagerness to give the correct answer and win points for her house. She keeps her head when required. She foresees danger in many instances, and is often always the first one to offer Harry some solid advice. She goes to the extent of modifying her parents' memories for the safety of all linked to them. And her bushy mane of hair :-P 100 Marks for that :-D

Then of course, Ron.
The red-haired, freckled and lanky guy who befriends Harry on their first journey to Hogwarts. Who stays by him despite a couple of good fights and ego clashes ( even the best of friends fight at times , so fair enough :-P ). Who is Harry's conscience keeper most of the time ( I say this because Harry does hide certain things from him, like his first crush on Ginny). Who becomes a life-saver at the most crucial moments in Harry's life :-)

And yes, before I forget, Molly Weasley.
Ron's mom and a motherly figure for Harry. The ever-so-cute matriarch of the Weasley family. A strong woman, and a unique blend of sense and non-sense :-) The way she mothers over Harry throughout the series, the way she takes on Bellatrix Lestrange and polishes her off ( and co-incidentally, pays Bella in her own coin, by finishing her off the way she killed Sirius)...her cheeky stories of romance with Arthur - all this and much more make her a lovable mom :-)

Luna, Neville, Fred and George, Bill, Hagrid, all come along....

Naaa..............I don't think I am going to stop with 5 ;-)

May be another post :-) :-)

This post is a part of Harry Potter Festival
Logo Courtesy : The Philospher's Stone

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Harry Potter Festival - Post 3 : Humour :)

Well, J K Rowling really does weave magic with her words.

But interwoven in the tapestry of the story is humour, I am sure any HP fan would agree. And that is mainly because Harry is a 'child-growing-into-an-adult' in the major part of the series. Children have the uncanny ability to see humour where most of us don't. Harry was a kid too. He looked at life from a child's angle, even when he had much more responsilibility than an adult to fulfill. His observation of his student life is punctuated with humorous references to many instances of his past life ; his interaction with his friends, teachers and enemies carries a generous dose of humour if we know where to look and whose conversations to follow.

This is the case with the other characters too. Fred and George top this list with their seemingly easy pranks, that you are left wondering, " why did I not think of it before?? " :P Then Ron, who is at times even wittier than the twins themselves ( remember how he teases Hermione about her S.P.E.W ?). Hagrid, with his innocent remarks creates ripples ! Many a time you find a smile on your face while reading about Professor Minerva and Professor Snape. And how can I forget Peeves ?

I don't want to quote any particular instance, because it would be impossible for me to choose the best of all. All that I would say is that all through the series, many instances have left their indelible mark on us with the hidden humour ; it is not like they made you laugh out loud; just that you would find youself smiling when you think of the seemingly unimportant conversation, because now you know it wasn't unimportant at all :)

This post is a part of Harry Potter Festival
Logo Courtesy : The Philospher's Stone

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Harry Potter Festival - Post 2 : What being a Harry Potter Fan means to me.....

So, the Harry Potter Festival is going strong, and here I am with my second post.

Now the world belongs to us - the self proclaimed Harry fans.

Harry is one true hero, without the 'hero'ishness, if you get what I mean. He isn't like our superheroes, who shout in the over-rated 'bollywood ishtyle' that he would avenge the death of his parents. He is a simple and down-to-earth and just like another boy next door, who would love to play the same pranks, who would show faces when he is told off. I mean, he's just like any other guy we see.

But he is different, because he is a wizard. He can woo you with his magic. Not extraordinary stuff, but the common magic. Not the dark one, but the serene one which comes as a silvery wisp of light and leads you to wonderful realms of an unexplored world.

There's this piece of conversation where Scrimgeour asks Harry, " Through and through Dumbledore's man, aren't you? ", to which Harry replies in the affirmative with a vehemence. Being a Harry Fan means being through and through Harry's man or woman.

When I explored my thoughts to analyse what being a Harry fan means to me, I got to know that , being a Harry Fan means.........
....  waking up on July 31st and exclaiming with happiness, " Yey yey !! I need to wish Harry ! Its his B'day"...
....  looking at your cup of milk which you detest as if it's a bottle full of potions...
....  hunting for owls at night and feeding them mice :P :P
....  realising that pumpkin juice can be better that pepsi or coke or coffee, any day
....  hoping that the table would clear itself  after every meal so that you don't have the trouble of cleaning up :)
.... eyeing a frog and wondering if there's any way it could become chocolatey ;) ;) ;)
.... wondering why not to use the broom to fly away from the patience-testing traffic :)
.... thinking of dobby every time you spot a pillow case :)
.... mistaking mom's roti rolling pin for a wand :P :P
.... naming your books 'arithmancy' instead of 'arithmetic' :P
.... imagining that every other spider is 'aragog' and screaming in your sleep :D
.... clutching your head when you suffer from headache and wondering if you do have a secret Voldemort to fear :) 
Jokes apart, Harry to me , as I said earlier, is a genuine hero. I say genuine, because he's as human as he can be.

Being Harry's fan means.........

.....being able to love yourself, your past and your present with a pinch of salt !
.....being able to be yourself to those who love you without any facade whatsoever !
.....being able to accept losses ( not all of us are adept at that ! )
.....being there for friends, whoever they are, wherever they are and in whatever situation they are
.....being able to view the philosophical side of life and thinking, "what makes me think that if it is happening in my head, then it is not real ?? "
.....being able to fight for a cause with all sense of responsibility , and never resting till it ends.
.....being able to choose the right over the wrong, the good over the evil, the divine over the inglorious, the truth over falsehood
.....being able to accept that one is human, after all !!

Well, the list is endless. The more we read the book, the more we capture the messages woven into the literary fabric.

Harry didn't come just to entertain. He came with a hoard of messages :)
And humour.

And more about the humour which tingled me, in the next post :)

This post is written as a part of Harry Potter Festival
Logo Courtesy: The Philospher's Stone

Monday, 19 August 2013

Harry Potter Festival - Post 1 : How I First met Him :)

Rennervate !

After some days of silence, the blog starts to speak again. This time it is Richa Singh, of The Philospher's Stone, who has cast the spell.

Let me cast some light into what I am talking about.

Lumos !!

Well, for all those who love/ hate/have something to say about the 'Boy who lived', here is a golden showcase - the Harry Potter Festival.
From 18th August to 25th, the world belongs to us - the Muggles  who would love to have the magic charms, who would love to reinforce our love for 'The Boy', and the others who will have nothing to do with him.
The details can be had here.

For me, the letter H means Harry. The Boy who Lived. Or the One who was Born to Live :)

That's how it has been ever since I met him.

The college where I graduated from had one of the best libraries in the University. And that was one place where I spent most of my free time. (Most, because I spent some time at the college Chapel too). There was sheer joy in browsing the long shelves filled with books , books and more books. We were allowed to take 3 books at a time for 3 student cards, and my quota was always full. I would make my friends borrow the books on their cards as well  and take them home, especially if it was a weekend.

It was on one such 'I-want-to-find-out-what-is-hidden-in-the-shelves' browsing session,that I met the Boy.
The catchy pink and purple cover of a book was pining for my attention ( arey yaar, someone has to , na ) and I pulled it from the shelf. And Voila! the bespectacled guy with a scar on his forehead stared back at me.

Funnily enough, that was the library copy of the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Not a good way to begin, given the fact that there were two predecessors to this one, which contained a major portion of information about Harry's past.
But I read it at home in one go.
And this left me yearning for more and more. I couldn't wait to read the first two, I couldn't wait to know what happened next. I wanted to know when Harry would be victorious over the Dark Lord..... There was so much to learn about him, so much to love him for, so much to sympathise and empathise with him....

All my next visits to the Library were fraught with attempts to track the first two books in the series, before laying my hands on the fourth one. One whole week, many visits, a booking for the books, a few messengers to the library to find out if the books were there, a few futile attempts to track down the current borrowers ( only because the staff were tired  of my pursuit and wouldn't tell me :( ) and will-get-them-when-its-time-for-me-to kind of resigned attitude later, I got them.

Glee !! I remember feeling the was as good as seeing him alive !!

For the next few days, I lived with him....I slept with the book in my hands, I looked at his picture the first thing in the morning, I carried it wherever I could, in the bus, on the way to College, on the dining table ( much to my mom's and babuji's confusion- why is she so obsessed !!;) )............

I read his story from cover to cover and would have begun again, had it not been for the fact that I had to return the books to the Library so that some other Harry fan would know the joy that I knew !

I got the rest of the books in chronological order as and when they were released.....and the journey with him was beyond compare.... I could feel his pain as mine, I could relate to him in many a circumstance, and his emotions were mine, as he stood watching his kids depart in the train to the world that had made him what he was !!

I am sure this is the case with many readers of the series. We all have our unique ways that connect us to Harry.

Harry, we love you ! :)

What does being a Harry Potter fan mean to me .... more about that tomorrow :)

This post is written as a part of the Harry Potter Festival.
Logo Courtesy :The Philospher's Stone

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Money matters, or does it ?

I always look forward to receiving Anu Garg's A Word A Day mails. Highly educating and entertaining, they are ! Every day, a new word is mailed to the subscibers world over, complete with all details such as its pronunciation, meaning, usage, etymology and interesting tidbits, if any. Very often, a quote accompanies the word. A Thought for the Day.

Today, this is the quote we received :

It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy. -George H. Lorimer

How true !!
This set on wheels my train of thoughts.

We live in a materialistic world. We work hard to make money, to be independent, to enjoy our lives, to build ourselves that wonderful house that we have always wanted, to give the best possible education to our children, to secure our future which we really can't predict anything about - in short, to meet our never-ending needs.

And all this, despite knowing fully well that money doesn't buy all things for us :) :) :)

Yes, we are fully aware that all that we earn will never be able to buy us
time or
a night of peaceful blissful sleep or
that lovely guileless smile of our little one or
the multifarious talents for which we often envy others or
the beauty of a rainy day or
the warmth of sunshine or
the laughter that we share with our friends or
the smile of understanding which our loved ones give us.....

Well, the list is endless. Period.

Those who think otherwise are just fooling themselves. Period.

And in this mad mad rush to stay ahead of others, we lose out on the goodness of life.
Of  pleasant mornings and peaceful evenings.
Of a meal lovingly cooked at home .
Of the tranquility that spreads over as the first sip of hot coffee goes down the throat.
Of the happiness that we enjoy as we indulge in the pastime we are passionate about.
Of the warmth of a chit-chat with friends over a cup of tea.
Of catching up with relatives over a phone call and sharing the nuances of everyday life.
and much much more....

Well, is it not high time we took stock of  ALL that we have and how rich these things make us ?

This is not , in any way, belittling what money can do for us.
True, money is the element which makes survival a possibility.
We need money to sustain life, to buy food, clothes and all that.
We need money to buy good books to read.
We need money to help us make a phone call, to stay connected with the world.
And any material comfort comes with money.

But, beyond all this, there are things which enrich our lives.
Those, which we should take care not to lose, in our race ahead ,for a better life.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A promise to myself :) and the blog :)

It's been ages since the last post.

That was about '10 life's lessons learnt from dad ', written as a part of Parentous prompt.

Of late, I have been reading many blogs.

It is like a chain, you see. There are some awesome blogs and websites which I check for updates on a regular basis. I open one of them , read it and it links me to another blog ; before I even know, I am hooked on to another page and soon there's a list of wonderful pages on the blogosphere which I am sure I would regularly check for updates. And the best part, the list gets updated everyday as I discover new pages !

I also got to know about the challenges like the UBC or the prompts given by WriteUpcafe.

Its so enriching to get to know the fellow bloggers and read them. Inspiring, to be precise.

Inspiration ! Yes, that is it !

That is what we need when we know we are running a challenging race, and need to arrive at the destination in style.

Being inspired may be easy; an external force can help us. But staying inspired....ah, well.... it is difficult for me ; in some situations at least !!

Sometimes, inspiration isn't like a one-shot immunity injection, which , once administered shall serve a life-time of its purpose. It is like food :) I need regular replenishment to keep myself energised :)
It could be anything - a word of appreciation, a sense of recognition, a nice talk with a positive friend, a strong cup of coffee that makes you feel you are in heaven :) ,  a bar of chocolate, a scoop of ice cream, or even the greater ones like the blogs which I earlier mentioned :) :)

Coming back to what I was saying, yes, it has been ages since the last post on my blog. And yes, of course, the lack of inspiration was what kept me back.

I just wrote the previous post and forgot my blog ( Yeah, not a nice thing to do, I know).

However, the journey across the terrains of the blogosphere has opened my eyes to the truth.
There's so much happening and I have missed all that !! :(

I need to update my blog regularly and create a wider audience.

Yes, so, my blog hereby stands rejuvenated !!

Till the next post, Au revoir !!