Ankit Mathur, Associate Creative Director, returns to Hogwarts for a story that’s 19 years in the making.
A little over 12, the boy attacked his hair with a wet comb and watched the mirror laugh. The mop of hair on his head dropped back down, giving up with every brush. Usually, he wouldn’t try this hard but he had a birthday to go to, and he didn’t get invited to many. Seeing how he was already late, he dashed to leave and almost with equal speed returned to grab his glasses. He’d been wearing glasses for 6 years and still, they were almost always forgotten.
So, with uncombed hair and plastic squarish glasses, the boy entered the birthday. But this was no birthday, it was a party. The house was huge, the decorations were classy, the cake had layers of flavour, the chips weren’t fried and yet were tasty, and there was Domino’s Pizza. The year was 2003 and Domino’s was a word he learned that day. So was the word “b*tch”
His confidence had barely stepped out of the closet when the birthday boy’s mom grabbed him and said, “oh my god, you look just like Harry Potter!”
She ruffled his hair and got her affirmations from her family members at the party. She continued to ruffle his hair, cut him an extra-large slice of cake, and constantly compared the quiet kid few noticed to the then-rising sensation, Harry Potter.
“The face, the hair, the glasses… a Harry Potter of our own!” (the full name was used, always). The family agreed and the schoolmates joined in calling him Harry Potter. People with low confidence like him used it as an ice breaker. The confident ones used it to tease him. But who cared?! From being ‘someone from their class’ he had graduated to a nickname.
A month later, the boy climbed into the backseat of the then-birthday boy’s car as his mom took a bunch of them to catch a movie. The friend’s mom (let’s call her Molly) was riding shotgun and her sister was driving. The boy was quick to say “helllloooo aunty”. Molly replied, “helloooo” and that’s it.
After a few seconds, she asked her sister “doesn’t he look just like Harry Potter?
… he even has the same round glasses”
The boy turned around to see that there was a new boy in the car, a new classmate — thin, messy hair, and round glasses. The sister took a quick look and agreed wholeheartedly. The rest of the trip to the movies, at the movies, after the movie at McDonald’s, they compared him to Harry Potter (used the full name, always) as they occasionally ruffled his hair.
Like the wisp of smoke from the tip of a wand, there was magic and then it was gone.
Since then, the number of times the boy attacked his hair with a wet comb grew. An obsession with junk food changed his face. And that was the last time he met Molly.
19 years later…
Wearing glasses of a new shape (not round), he re-watched every Harry Potter movie and re-realised something. He is like Harry — impulsive, lucky, not very intelligent, gullible. There was just one more thing that needed to match — bravery.
Times are dark and that’s when people need the Harrys, the Hermonies, the Rons, the Nevilles, the Lunas, the Fred & Georges, the Ginnys of the world.
Bravery is a choice, and all the boy has to do is remember to turn on the light.
PS — The pizzas were running late and that’s when Molly started screaming on the phone. Someone at the pizza place referred to her as a b*tch and she heard them. This information is public because everyone heard her say, “yes, this b*tch wants all her pizzas now. Because this b*tch has hungry kids and she’s paid a lot of money for it.”