My eyes landed on a very colorful cardboard box in a certain shabby-looking stall and upon further inspection I made out the names "Harry Potter Boxed Set" engraved on it.
The 11-year old me wasn't exactly what you call aware of the latest developments in the world of fiction but still the name "Harry Potter" did ring a bell.
Although I couldn't quite remember where I had heard of it, the brief summary written on either side of the box was enough to excite my curiosity and TADA. I knew I had to unravel the mysteries that the 4 books held inside.
Back then I had no idea that I was bringing something home which was going to be a part of my life forever, something which was going to enrich me as a reader in more ways than one and cement my relationship with reading into a permanent bond.
Come this Friday and the mad hysteria, the unbridled frenzy, the ground-breaking publishing phenomenon named Harry Potter is about to reach its conclusion, with the release of the final movie - The Deathly Hallows Part 2.
The saga that was conceived as a mere idea in J.K. Rowling's head on a train trip from Manchester to London, back in 1990, will come to an inevitable but sad end with the last movie of the immensely successful franchise.
The final book of the series had released back in 2006 and despite earnest requests from fans worldwide to continue with the series or atleast author a spin-off based on it, Rowling hasn't shown signs of ever writing another Harry Potter book. She thinks she has closure with Harry although she says it had been fun while it lasted.
For millions across the globe, especially those in my age-group, the Harry Potter books formed a part of our staple reader diet.
We grew up on the books. We grew up on the movies. We grew up with Harry, Hermione, Ron and their adventures.
Even the Harry Potter stars, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson grew up with the movies.
|Image source: www.leowo.com|
Being the owner of any HP book was a matter of prestige back in my high-school days.
I still remember the envious glances directed my way, as I would take out a HP book from my backpack and read during lunch hours...how people who never showed any signs of becoming friends otherwise, would approach me very cautiously to ask me if they can borrow one of them.
I also remember those, who would openly go about dissing the books, because supposedly it was all "kindergarten fantasy crap". It was quite amusing to find people passing expert judgement on a series of books they've never read.
Not that it was unexpected. If something earns popularity, then it will gain its fair share of haters as well.
However fame and uncharted stardom weren't the only things associated with Rowling's brainchild. Controversies, acerbic critique and accusations of the central idea and character sketches being plagiarized from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings followed.
But somehow none of this deterred Harry Potter from attaining a cult status in the world of juvenile/fantasy fiction or came even close to preventing it from turning into the entertainment behemoth that it is today.
The books brought millions of children/adolescents back to reading, introduced major changes in the landscape of creative freedom in movie-making. Rowling had asked Warner Bros to be true to the spirit of the books while making the movies. And even though they may not always have lived up to the expectations of the fans, they surely did enough to bring the magical world of Harry Potter come alive on screen.
I can't help but experience an odd sense of nostalgia, when I think of the very first chapter of the very first book- "The Boy Who Lived". When I had turned over the first page, I had been blissfully unaware that the story which was just starting to unfold will eventually transform into an epic tale of good triumphing over evil, friendship, trust, betrayal, courage, love and every possible human emotion ever felt. That it would acquaint me with a bunch of sometimes-lovable, sometimes-quirky, sometimes-obnoxious, sometimes-mysterious or sometimes-downright-evil characters I would hold dear for the rest of my life.
Even though profound sadness envelopes me as I realize that this long but extremely fulfilling journey has come to an end, I feel the magic contained in the 7 books and 8 movies will continue to live on forever.
"The Chosen One" will never fade out from our memories or our lives.