The Harry Potter saga ended this week, bringing about a wave of elation, tinged with sadness, like the time you excitedly stumbled upon an Emma Watson bikini picture, only to be reminded of her birth date.
But there exists a Potter story that is still untold. Somewhere before the hunt for horcruxes, a few chapters went missing and were never found… until today.
Harry felt a familiar, sickening swirl in the pit of his stomach, as he hurtled through nothingness and slammed face down into a pool of muck. Struggling to his feet, he wiped his glasses and looked around, trying to get his bearings. And that’s when he saw it – the ominous message scrawled on a nearby wall: BEANBAGS 26407432.
‘No, I don’t want to buy. NO. Wha – get off me, you little gits!’
Harry turned to see Ron being tsunami-ed by a bunch of marauding urchins. Before he could pull out his wand, the urchins had suddenly vanished, leaving Ron with three roses, a book titled ‘Douchebaggery for Dummies’ by Arindam Chaudhary, and a bunch of strawberries that shone bright, thanks to the usual coat of vendor saliva.
Just then, Hermione rushed up to them, frustration writ large on her face.
‘We weren’t supposed to land up here. The portkey must have been cursed!’
Ron examined their portkey: an ordinary brush. A glance at the base confirmed his worst fears.
‘Yep, it’s cursed all right. Says right here, ‘Made in China’.’
‘Great. I’m not even sure where we -‘
‘India’, interrupted Harry. ‘We’re in India. Bombay.’
‘How can you tell?’ asked Ron.
‘Look, I know everything a white person needs to know about this city. I’ve seen Slumdog Millionaire.’
‘Ugh!’ exclaimed Hermione. ‘The one starring that scrawny, talentless piece of dragon poop?’
‘Oh c’mon, Dev Patel isn’t that bad.’
‘I meant Frieda Pinto.’
‘Sorry to interrupt, but how about we start moving?’ demanded Ron, and followed it up with a slightly more cheerful offer, ‘Strawberries, anyone?’
They hadn’t gotten very far when it happened again. A searing, white-hot pain shot through Harry’s scar, bringing with it a horrible vision.
A bug-eyed stranger with butcher’s hands and jowls the size of tyre flaps was speaking to him.
‘Come to me, Harry,’ he hissed. ‘Come to me for easy, painless removal of lightning-shaped scar through magic of homeopathy. Contact Dr. Batra’s clinic on 1-800-BATRA. Hurry!’
‘Hermione, are you sure he’s the right guy?’ whispered Ron.
‘Yes, he can help us. He’s Mumbai’s go-to guy for everything.’
They looked up at the name-plate that said ‘SUHEL SETH’. Hermione was about to knock when Harry grabbed her hand.
‘Harry! What are you -’
‘Shhh! Do you hear that?’
Harry whipped out the Marauder’s Map and pointed to two pairs of footsteps. ‘There! That’s what I mean.’
Right on top of Suhel’s name on the map, there flashed another name: Arnab Goswami.
‘I hear them!’ hissed Ron. ‘They’re being really loud.’
He made a disgusted face at Hermione as he said this, but only to hide the fact that right then, he was thinking of her and feeling totalus petrificus in all the right places.
‘I’m Harry Potter! Faced the Dark Lord! The star of an epic fantasy franchise! And not the one with the glittering fruity vampires who couldn’t scare a poodle!’
Shembud Ghorpade, head clerk at the Maharashtra Ministry of Magic, did little to stop his response from being lost in a yawn.
‘Haan so, who this Dark Lord?’
An agitated Ron jumped in. ‘Oh y’know, only the most evil wizard of all time? Pale, gaunt, weird nose…’
‘You just described half the women in Bollywood.’
‘Can you just please help us leave -‘
‘First give address proof, ID proof -‘
‘THIS!’ screamed Harry, jabbing at his forehead. ‘THIS FLIPPIN’ SCAR! THAT’S YOUR GODDAMN PROOF!’
The outburst had the required effect on Ghorpade, who snapped out of his government-mandated stupor and spoke slowly, this time with purpose.
‘Mr. Potter, you should get that checked. I know this great homeopathy clinic…’
(Note: This is my HT column dated 17th July 2011)