Fantasy has a part in all our lives. We fantasise, expect, make castles in the air, get dissappointed, move on and then fantasise some more. Over the passage of time, and our journey into adulthood, what is startlingly observed is that, our fantasies have become tangible and realistic, thereby loosing the essence of the term. As kids fantasy meant much more. From Granny's stories to Fantasy fables, there were sizeable contributions for increasing our appetite.
Personally, books have been my major friends since childhood. I devoured stories, comic books etc as a child and probably that led to inculcating reading as a habit. Fantasy, as a medium of prose in my country was very limited. There were tales about magical creatures, forbidden castles, wonder caves, but in solidarity. The more one wanted to read about, the less there was material to look forward to. I remember Chandamama, the children's magazine carrying a series of fantasy adventures, but soon lost focus and it's readers. DD TV serials such as Stone Boy, Alif Laila (unintentionally hilarious), Captain Vyom also faded away. Soon, I graduated into classics and subsequently popular fiction novels.
I was in junior college, and was leafing through a popular magazine those days - "Cricket Talk". It carried a column of Top 10 International Bestsellers Fiction / Non-fiction, and as my eyes fell upon the list i could notice 3 Harry Potter titles in the fiction list competing with the likes of Michael Crichton and other popular writers. I tried inquiring about Harry Potter from different sources ( no, googling was not an option those days, atleast not for me !!). The best i could conclude, was that, it might be a detective series a la Holmes or Poirot and I was looking forward to read them.
My mother had an Operation in mid 2001 and i was attending to her for a brief period in the nursing home in Cuttack. Cuttack happened to be the literature capital of Orissa, my state and I had access to loads of good books and authors at street side 2nd hand shops as well as the famous book stores in the city. This time too, i went about searching for good books to give me company, while i spent time at the nursing home, with Mama.
The book seller proudly showed me fiction novels and thrust in a few Harry Potter books as new arrivals. Upon gazing at the cover art, which appeared quite childish, i wondered if this would at all be a good buy and if it would appeal to the "adult" in me. However, after sparing a careful thought i did buy one of the books - "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", little knowing that it was the fourth book in the series. Perhaps the size of the book (fattest back then) and the slightly adventurous cover art, got my goat !!
The beauty of the prose was such that i could understand the stuff even though i broke midway from the fourth part of the series. Soon i was enthralled, and picked up all the remaining parts of the series, available back then. It was sheer joy, being transported to the magical world of Wizards and Witches. I wasn't a "muggle" anymore !! The whole concept was simple yet mind boggling. The presence of wizards amongst common folk, the platform of 9 and 3 quarters, Hogwarts, Quidditch, the magic lessons and the exciting adventures of Harry, amidst all of this.
I kept up with Harry, reading his adventures as i grew from a teenager to adulthood. I introduced him to several of my friends. Imagination was getting colour by the harry potter movies that kept releasing. Daniel Radcliffe surely was the Chosen one, aprtly supported by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Ron and Hermione, Harry's best friends. However the best potrayal of the character was and is being done by Alan Rickman, in and as Severus Snape, the almost evil, Potions teacher at Hogwarts. A few years back, the last Harry Potter book - The Deathly Hallows was released, and thus the prose came to an end. The movie franchise is soon catching up and the first part of the last book, has already hit the theatres (i saw it a week back). Very soon, next year, the last movie would be released, and Harry will fade away from our expectations, to come again. He will be cherished in the 8 DvDs and 7 books that I will treasure. I hope I keep re-visiting the memories. I also hope to pass my joy to my next generation and i hope they cherish the experience as much.