Story of the Boy who lived
She stood on the steps, watching the boy talk to the dogs, which leaped
around him as though encouraging him to come and play.
Sweet kid, he
was. Intelligent too, just not...well, all there. His uncle was a
"tough guy," but a good sort, she thought. Nice to his poor
relative who was so obviously a couple of fries short of reality.
As Minerva MacDonald
had been told, Harry's parents were killed in a car crash when he
was three years old. Harry had been left with an odd-shaped scar on
his forehead and only half of his mind.
That half was
stuck in a fantasy world, as a way of coping from the brutal reality
of his parent's death before his eyes at such a young age. Harry always
talked about a school for wizards, how he was special because he was
the "boy that lived," about his wizard friends Ron and Hermione.
part of these fantasies, the crazy statements that had led his aunt
and uncle to take him out of school for good, had started back on
his eleventh birthday, when Harry saw an owl flying overhead and started
talking about how it was carrying a letter for him. He tried to run
away from home, screaming about owls, and had fallen into a neighbour's
pool. His aunt and uncle had been forced to bring him here to Hogmore's
Institute, where Dr. Bumbledore had examined him.
though harmless to all but himself, Harry Potter was given a permanent
home at the Institute.
Yes, Minerva thought
to herself, folding her arms across her chest, Harry was happy here
in a way he had never been at home.
Not that his relatives
liked the idea of Harry locked away in a mental institution. Every
summer they tried bringing him home for a few weeks. Every time he
caused so much trouble that they had to bring him back, shame-faced
that they could not control him. Twice he'd run away (once found by
an old lady that lived nearby after two whole days of frantic searching
had passed), once he'd caused such a fuss while company was in the
house that they simply could not stand to keep him there any longer.
But, oddly compared to the majority of the patients, Harry enjoyed
living here. He'd made friends with the two recently acquired dogs,
one of whom had given him a bit of a scare by being a bit too enthusiastic
at their first meeting. But they'd made it up and were now the best
of friends, always together.
He did not bear
much fondness for the rat that ran loose in the halls, however. And
the cat hadn't been his favourite playmate, yet he'd never mistreated
her. No, Harry mostly just stuck to Remy and Siry, as he called them.
Harry spent a
lot of time outside, playing with an old broomstick, muttering something
about a "golden something." He'd go through the gardens
carrying the broom until his eye caught something shiny, and then
would dive for it, holding the whatever-it-was like it was a treasure.
Once last year,
during a slight rainstorm, he'd gone out into the garden, not knowing
that another patient was also out there, the gentle Mexican boy named
Cedrico. The kid also liked shiny things, and when they both saw a
golden penny, they grabbed for it, knocked heads...and well, Harry
was in the hospital for quite some time, jabbering about how Cedrico
had been killed by the Dark Lord.
While Harry was
in the hospital, Cedrico was transferred to a hospital in America.
That didn't help Harry's impression that Cedrico had been killed and
that it was somehow his fault.
Those had been
dark times. Harry spent a lot of time crying in a corner of the garden,
until his relatives came to take him home for the summer -- "one
more trial" they said.
But now Harry
was back here, and loving it by all accounts. Minerva walked down
the few remaining steps.
she called. "Time to come in, look, the sun's going down."
Harry looked up
at her with blank eyes, just a hint of recognition in them. "Okay,
Professor," he said. Vaguely Minerva wondered why he always called
her Professor, then figured it must be part of his school fantasy.
Harry patted the
two dogs on their heads and made his way over to the nurse.
is coming, you know," he said conversationally. "Look, the
Dark Mark in the sky!" He pointed to the odd shape of the dark
cloud against the pink and gold. "That will call the Death Eaters!
I wonder if Snape will go this time?"
He turned back
and looked up at her earnestly. "Is Snape really on the side
of the good?" he asked.
She didn't know
who he was talking about, but tried to reassure anyway. "Yes,
I'm certain of it, Harry. Now, it's time to come in."
"Professor, I don't quite understand the homework for today.
Maybe you could help me and Ron with it later?"
down at him suddenly, filled with pity in a way that had become so
rare with the years of working here. God, the boy was so sweet and
innocent that it was practically a crime to disturb his childish fantasy.
Harry, you're a bright boy, you'll get it if you keep working on it,"
she told him.
She took hold
of his hand, and walked with him up the steps into the house.
Just inside the
house, one of the older patients, a big man who was gentle but unaware
of his own strength, fond of playing in the gardens, waved at Harry,
who called out "Hey, Hagrid!" and waved back.
In the dining
hall, Harry broke away from her and ran over to his table, chattering
excitedly to Randal and Hera, his friends and roommates. "I can't
believe she took three points from Gryffindor, it's not like I did
anything really bad!" Harry chattered at them as his friends
stopped talking to listen to him. "And did you hear what that
idiot Malfoy said about the team?"
Harry may live in his own world, she thought, but whatever it is,
it's an interesting place.
walked into the hall, smiling benignly at the assembled group. The
good doctor was too overly dramatic at times, Minerva thought. The
patients could get strange ideas. Especially Harry, who incorporated
everything into his own world.
young man served Harry, who was muttering to Hera about the mis-treatment
of house-elves. It sounded like he was holding an argument with her,
both of them talking about completely different things.
through, Harry spent some time looking across the room, staring at
his "crush," Cho Lee, an Asian girl who had a problem with
split personalities. Minerva sighed. Poor Harry. He could not possibly
understand the delicate balance of emotional relationships, and, with
Cho's problems added to the mix, was doomed to unrequited love, if
he insisted on having her.
One of the youngest
in the room, Jenny, a girl who had started a fire, trying to kill
herself because her self-esteem was through the basement, was staring
at Harry in her own attempt at unrequited love. Harry occasionally
spoke to her, but generally hardly knew she existed.
Poor all of them.
No one here could be held responsible for all the pain they made into
was just happy that Harry Potter's world was more fun than most.
myself and my mom
My mom was only a teenager when I
was born. She was yet to finish her HSC, and by the time I'd learnt
to stand straight, she was taking me to the college with her. That
way, I started 'babe watching' at quite an early age, but couldn't
exactly exploit the privilege, partly because my mom was always there
to keep an eye on me, but mainly because the diapers I were obliged
to wear in those days made me look rather uncool.
Ah, well. Philandery was never easy.
As a kid, I'd always found in my mom
a friend I loved to pick a fight with. She tried to be stern, but
in the end of the day, she always ended up being the more impish of
To start with, my mom had a very poor
memory. When I was born she named me Tawsif, but by the time I was
ten, she had already forgotten that. She started thinking she'd named
me either Gadha or Ram ( short cut for Ramchchagol),
but couldn't decide which one. So, she started calling me with both
the names; Gadha in private and Ram in front of
Except for the memory thing, however,
everything else was just perfect about my mom. Especially, she had
this prodigal talent of hurling combs at any moving body with a perfect
accuracy. Since the 'body', just referred to, usually happened to
be mine, I had to stay alert all the times. It's not that mom threw
combs at me for sheer fun. It's just that I kept giving her reasons
to do so, one after another.
As a kid, I used to suffer from the
illusion that I was a mutant. So, I often tried to bring out my adamantium
claws to help me eat my noodles, or fry a dozen or two mosquitoes
with my optic blast. In vain, I'd come to realize that I wasn't a
mutant at first place. Actually, I lived inside the Matrix, and I
was the ONE. Eventually, I'd try to fly like Neo, and end up landing
on the dining table, smashing an entire set of wineglasses.
Mom would come running all the way
from her bed room, only to find me sitting on her dining table with
half-a-dozen glasses scattered all around, and a broad, philanthropic
grin on my face. She would turn morbid, and even before I could explain,
I'd find combs rushing at me at 150 km/hr.
I always tried to behave while mom
was in the kitchen. She might be working with the knives, you know.
Mom was a great prankster, as well.
We never had domestic help in our place, and Dad was always late.
So, I had to spend the evenings alone with mom. She would often just
lie down on the bed and pretend that she was dead. I'd scream, shout
and try to wake her up in every possible way. (I was only seven, in
those days.) But she wouldn't move a bit. And just when I'd be convinced
that she was really dead and start crying or something, mom would
suddenly open her eyes and burst out giggling.
But she always gave me ice-creams
after she'd finished giggling. So I never complained.
However, as the days merged into months
and the months into years, our relationship started to change. She
became over-protective, and started beefing about anything and everything,
starting from my untidy room, to the number of girls who called me.
By the time I was in the mid-teens she turned into the villain of
Then one day, she just crossed the
I was fifteen, at that time. I had
a huge crash on a school hottie, and it was her birthday. So, I bought
her a rather mushy card from the Hallmarks. Mom saw it on my desk,
and accidentally read it. Later on, when I was leaving for my school,
all duded up in hair gel and colognes, mom asked me about the card.
She said that I was being foolish again, and that I'd get myself hurt.
I got cranky, and spoke really rudely with her. Mom had tears in her
eyes when I left the house.
By the time I reached school, I'd
forgotten the whole incident. Hormones had taken over. I bought roses
from a nearby shop, and entered the school, lost in daydreams.
The girl turned me down.
As I was returning home that day,
I felt dizzy with shame. Not because a girl had turned me down, but
because I'd insulted my mom for someone who didn't even know my full
name. With the roses held in my hands, I headed straight for home.
When mom opened the door, I gave her
the flowers. Even before I could spell out the words (I AM SORRY MOM),
I found myself lost in a warm hug. Mom had forgiven me once again.
She knew what happened at school, and she wasn't going to laugh at
me like everyone else. She was holding me up, like she'd always done.
Ever since then, I never misunderstood
my mom. She still throws combs at me. She still keeps beefing about
untidy rooms. But deep inside, I know that whatever she does, she
does it for my own good.
My mom is the nicest lady God had
ever made. Otherwise, she couldn't have tolerated me for the past