Friday, May 07, 2010

Why I Believe In Magic

In early 2002, I was flipping through a magazine when I came across an article on the changing face of children's literature. The piece was mostly a gushing account of how the Harry Potter series had brought in enormous profits, and therefore, renewed interest in a hitherto 'niche' genre. I had heard of Harry Potter, of course, as I wasn't living under a rock. But I didn't bother to read one of the books because my snob of a mind had already classified it unworthy. My younger sister wasn't so circumspect. In the summer of the following year, I read the first Harry Potter book that she had borrowed from a friend, while I was home on vacation.

Within five minutes of reading, I was hooked. And the fact that there were more waiting to be read was like a constant, unwelcome itch on the most inaccessible part of the back that I just couldn't wait to scratch. But these were my college years, and 'shoestring' was too grand a term for my finances. Spending four hundred bucks on a book wasn't just indulgent, it was impossible. So I yearned and waited and longed. Till suddenly I remembered the girl in my class who had a reputation for having charmed the gnarled old librarian into an easy friendship in our first year itself. She was a quiet girl who seemed to be joined at the hip with another girl who reminded me vaguely of an industrious sparrow. Quiet Girl was always looking at people intently for short periods of time with a patient half smile on her face. All the professors loved her and she knew all the answers, even though she never seemed to seek out the Dork Limelight. And it was rumoured that she Had All The Books. Ever.

So I decided to ask her for the second Harry Potter book. It was a big step for me; I was still as inhibited and self conscious as a timid dormouse. And I had my small town complex - my two friends in college both came from Shillong and Delhi women intimidated me effortlessly. But then, Quiet Girl always smiled. So I asked her, and she said sure, she'd get me the book. And she got me that one, and the third one, and zillions of other ones (the rumours were true). She gifted me the Lord Of The Rings series, and introduced me to Samit Basu's work, and showed me a new world of fiction where misfits like myself seemed to rule the roost. She also bought me breakfast everyday (a chocolate brownie and masala tea) and gave me new pride in my handwriting. When another girl in class asked me for my copy of the fifth Harry Potter book, our triumvirate was complete.

The two years we spent in college sharing food, books and laughs are still easy to conjure up, and heartbreakingly difficult to relive. Quiet Girl is still busy patiently taking care of those she loves in a million ways. She's still ready to listen to any rubbish you want to spew or to comfort you when you cry about a stolen wallet. She will still bake you a cake when you have a cold, and get you macaroni and cheese because it feels like that kind of Tuesday.

And that's why I believe in magic; because a story about a wizard boy led me to two of the most wonderful women and the most prized friends I've ever had. On Quiet Girl's birthday, I wish that she finds all the love and care she has spread so freely returned a thousandfold. I hope that this year, she can find some time to discover why we all love her so, and that it brightens the patient half smile into something more radiant.

Quiet Girl, you are one of kind. Happy Birthday, and I love you.

17 comments:

Sumi said...

Hey
I am new follower and absolutely love the way you write.I am asucker for good writing and reading some of your blog gave me goosebumps.

Oops I sound weird I think.Can't help it.Zero creativity while writing or anywhere else as a matter of fact.;-)

In any case,I love your blog and please keep writing.Happy birthday to your friend.She is lucky to have you and vice versa.

Sumi said...

Correction: I am A new follower.Had to do this considering you know your grammar.

heh? ok said...

@ sumi
apologies for coming across as such a grammar nazi. but goosebumps...really? that is just an awesome compliment :)

Sumi said...

Yes.I meant it.And looking at my comment again is making me cringe.So many typos.But I blame my computer.It was driving me nuts yesterday.
No,you are not a grammar nazi.It just means you actually read your Wren and Martin and I was just pretending to.Hee hee

Sim said...

Sniff sniff... (no no i am not crying I just have a cold)
Anky messaged me at night: Please read sangy's blog. I am going senile I cried a little when I read it.
With each post you set a higher writing level for yourself.
But thats not why I am commenting, I am writing because reading this not only brought back all the memories of Harry Potter talk or sitting in the back lawns exchanging stories or even the plan of writing a book (Aag Ka Gola), but because I realised how much you guys mean to me and how you both are an indispensable part of my life. Even if I curse my karma soemtimes, I can proudly say that in this case I have got more than I deserve! And its funny you saying 'She will still bake you a cake when you have a cold' because I have cold and she sent me two cakes!!
'And it was rumoured that she Had All The Books. Ever' :)
So here is to Super Neha, my bestest fiend ever and my siamese twin who knows me inside out like no one else! Yeh dosti hum nahi chodenge...cough cough

Sharbori said...

hi, nice post. i have been a follower of your blog for a while. like your style, easygoing and yet intimate.

heh? ok said...

@ sumi
i miss wren and martin! atleast you know about that book. sometimes i feel sorry for their souls.

@ sim
nahi chhodenge, kabhi nahi :) and soon we will be reunited, and we will conquer new peaks of awesomeness.

@ sharbori
thank you for reading. and i'm happy that my blog's intent actually reaches you when you read.

ninkita said...

:) thankyou!!!!!!!!

I'm so happy that you're coming back!!

heh? ok said...

@ nin

you're welcome. and sometimes i think my happiness at coming back is a little obscene :) is it?

Pari said...

Sniff!!! I just saw this and I'm fighting back a tear. I love you guys so much!!!! And S, even though I'm going to miss just the thought of having you close enough when I need it, I'm happy for you!!!
Here's to Super duper Nin, my lovely...the person I love the most in this world and can bet my life on anytime!!!! Muuuaaahhh!!!!

Pari said...

And the tear just rolled out!!

rosysays said...

I remember her looking intently at me or should i say quizzically probably wondering-hmm is this the mother??!!!!!I second your wish about her finding the one true love that she truly and each one of you truly deserve. I dont know about yeh dosti but you cant shake off the shackles of maternal love that emanates from me. Muah to all of you!!

heh? ok said...

@ pari
why do i have a feeling that you can't stay away from us for too long?

@ rosysays
you won't believe how kicked i am at your comment. and we all love the shackles, by the way :)

Pari said...

@Maate: I can totally imagine her doing that...maybe I will too, the next time I see you (I so hope it's really soon!) :)
And those are not shackles...if they were, they wouldn't let us go out into the world, do of our will and find ourselves. And we love you for that...and a lot else, of course! Big big bear hug!!!

@Heh: Right now, I'm really not sure which requires more strength...hanging in here, or running back there! But I sooo miss you all!!! Sigh!

Aditi..............:) said...

Hey Sangeeta,
Lovely writeup! You mesmerized me with your skills...really.

I will surely follow your blog. Keep it going.
And yes I love Harry Potter too, my story is kind of similar to yours!

monisha mehta said...

hey , nice blog , like it ,
won't be nice if i u can clickover to my blog page too ,
& post some suggestion

Mythreyi said...

Hey.. I just came across your blog, and I'm a fan already. This is some seriously awesome writing.. :)
Keep writing, 'cuz you write really really well.. :)