The first Harry Potter book that I laid my hands on was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Now, frankly I had no idea who Harry Potter was till then. All I knew was that the first movie was to release that year in India and the teasers looked interesting to me. I was at a bookstore with the money I had won at a writing competition hosted by Hindustan Times, Patna and the storekeeper recommended Harry Potter. This was the latest book he had, I believe even he didn’t know that there were three preceding books in the series. I was of course, as ignorant as you can imagine.
So I bought the book on his recommendation and started reading it the same evening. And little did I know that I would be sucked into the magical world of Hogwarts, to never emerge again. After all these years I don’t exactly remember how many days it took me to complete the book but I remember the feeling, all the excitement of what will happen next. There was enough reference given from the earlier books so I didn’t have much problem with the context.
The next target for me was reading the first three books of the series which was not as easy as it seems now. I had fixed pocket money and saving up every rupee for more than six months was not possible for me. So I begged and begged my elder sister for the books and she agreed (that was a first!) to buy me one book. And then I received Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Joy, O joy! My sister never got around to reading it and she didn’t even understand how I could have fallen in love with a children’s book when I was 15 already. But this is something only true Potterheads understand.
A few weeks after I had finished the first book, Bloomsbury organized a small book fair at our school and then I bought the second in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. By then, my tenth boards were to start and that meant lots of studying under parental and sister supervision. Also, no fiction reading time. So I did what I was supposed to do. I hid the book in my course books and read it at night. Lots of late night studying (in reality Pottering) kept all of us happy.
My tryst with the third book had to wait for my Boards to get over and on the day of the last paper, I borrowed it from my friend, who took the fourth book from me. Since I had to return the book in a few days, I ended up reading the book twice in three days. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has been my all-time favourite ever since.
Having cleared up the backlog, now I had to wait for the next books to be published. This was my first experience with the long wait and with each week my desperation increased. The fifth and sixth books were both purchased by me within a week of their release and for the seventh I ran to the bookstore on the day it was released. Needless to add, I bunked college the next day to finish it. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the final book but it didn’t mean that my love for the series ever diminished. I have reread the books so many times that I have lost count and every time I find something that I had missed the last many times that I read it.
Harry potter and friends held my hand through my late teens and with them I reached and coped adulthood. I’m a wife and a mother now but J.K. Rowling’s creation stays with me always; and whenever I need extra strength, I go back to the series to once again find myself on the moving staircases and stone gargoyles with sherbet lemon as the password.