Wednesday, April 14, 2021

M for Muggle

 That's the 13th letter of the alphabet and all of us still continuing in AtoZ , we have reached the half distance milestone ! Super ! 

Muggle is the term in the Potter series by which ordinary people are referred to, in other words people who do not have any magical powers and are not wizards or witches . The children of Muggles could have magical abilities and Hermione is a classic example. But the villains a.k.a the Death Eaters despise such people and use a derogatory word called Mudblood against them indicating that their blood is not pure.

This kind of superiority complex is something humans have always had in some form or the other from times unknown isn't it ? Colour, race, wealth, community , ancestory and what not ! This in turn leads to oppression and suppression and history keeps getting rewritten! Having a tiny space in our minds to think from another person's point of view goes a long way in mending broken bridges.

Simple thing to remember - all of our teeth are white ( of course provided we brush daily) and we all look better when we smile. That's not so hard eh ! 

The magical world is fascinated by what is achieved in the Muggle world. We have managed to fly in machines, sail on vessels, make light bulbs glow and freeze food and contact each other through telepathy!...oops we are not there yet, I mean telephones and what not ! 

After accomplishing such mind blogging things, mankind often forgets the easiest form of existence....simply being human ! A little love here , some compassion there and lot of smiles (they come absolutely free of cost) is all that it takes to heal the world and make it a better place ( I love that song by Michael Jackson).

Yesterday on my evening walk , I saw a lady with a baby at a signal and for some reason on seeing me the baby broke into a wide toothless amused grin . It made my day . End of the day , it's small things that make life worth living, right?

Love, live and let live! 



L for Library

 Hermione Granger! One of the three central characters of the Potter series. Intelligent, studious and meticulous ! Her favourite place in Hogwarts - the library !  For an enchanted world where everything happens by magic and where even memories can be pulled out of a head and saved in bottles, there is nothing similar to the internet or google. For every information one has to depend upon the massive book collection inside the library and that's where she gets very interesting and useful facts.

Picture courtesy: Ryunosuke Kikuno on Unsplash.com

I love to read and I enjoy browsing the shelves of the local library picking what next to read! When you find out that a title that you have been wanting to read for quite some time  is available for you to borrow, it's a very special feeling indeed! I mostly read fiction and am happy borrowing the books rather than buying them .

During my college days many of us used to prefer sitting in the quiet library to study rather than in our hostel rooms where there was an imminent danger of  using the books as pillows and dozing off. On the eve of one of my exams ( that was my very first semester I think) I was at the Ref-Li( short for Reference library) and to take a break I decided to go for a 5 minute walk . On the college corridor I met a couple of friends. We talked , we gossiped , we giggled , we laughed and it stretched to more than half an hour. These friends did not have an exam the next day and they did not exactly fall under the "whiling away time" category.  Finally when guilt and self nudging won over me, I waved goodbye and traced my steps back . What I saw had my mouth wide open with shock! The library doors were closed and there hung a big lock with no human in sight. All my books , reference material and even my calculator were locked up inside.  My room keys and my cycle keys too!  All my plans for last minute preparation got popped like a nasty needle on a balloon. Lesson learnt: if you are leaving your belongings at a public place, be aware of the timings!

In Singapore there are unmanned drop off points outside all libraries where we can return the books on loan. Last Friday, I collected the books to return and carefully counted multiple times to make sure all six were there. I sent my son to drop them off and was pleased with myself to remember returning them on time.Late returns incur a fee. Yesterday,  Iwas browsing the library app to check for some book  when I realized that I still had one more book on loan. That's when it dawned on me that instead of returning a library book I had dropped off one of the books we own and which had been a birthday present for my girl! Thankfully they had kept it separately and I was able to get it back . Lesson never managed to learn : Dont be absent minded!! 




Monday, April 12, 2021

K for Key

 There are very few things in the Potter series that I can think of for K. After racking my brain for quite  a while this is all I could think of!


Harry has a unique key given to him by Sirius that can open any possible lock. How cool is that ! Dangerous as well!

Dindigul , a town in my home state of TamilNadu in India is famous for manufacturing speciality locks. It is known as the "lock-city" and is famous for its fool-proof mango shaped locks. In fact there are families that have been making these unique locks for generations.

I love those journals that you get in gift shops with colourful pages and pretty pictures that can be secured with a tiny lock and key. It's a  great return gifts for girl birthday parties.

On Indian trains we have a metal hoop under the seat that can be used  to secure your luggage  using a chain, lock and key. For one, it prevented luggage from being mistakenly exchanged and two, of course gave protection from thieves. Along with newspapers and comics, a common thing that can be seen sold on railway platforms are these long chains, locks and keys!

I have not been to France but I have heard of a tourist location there where romantic couples hang metal locks on a bridge. After some googling , I got to know it's called the Pont Des Arts and that due to the weight of the locks affecting the bridge, it's no longer allowed now.

Another thing that fascinates me are key chains and key rings ... something I love to buy as souvenirs when visiting new places in addition to fridge magnets .  

I have a nice key hanger in my living room. But the most commonly misplaced item in our family are our keys next only to mobile chargers.  Especially in the mad morning rush of hurrying the kids to school, the car keys would often play a game of hide and seek with us ! 

Like a MonKEY I have been hopping from one key thing to another !! Someone remind me the key points to take note while writing blog posts ! What is the key to a popular blog post? :) 



 





Sunday, April 11, 2021

J for Jinx

The Defense against the Dark Arts is a course at Hogwarts that trains the wizards and witches in spells and tricks to be used, if they come in the path of their prejudicial counterparts who have transgressed to the evil side. 

The post however is supposed to be jinxed as no one manages to hold it for more than a year. The first teacher is possessed by the antagonist and the second one is a pompous self-obsessed person who ends up losing his memory. The only good one in the list is ostracized by the community as he is a werewolf who has to take preventive measures on a full moon night. 

At one of my previous workplaces we used to joke around, that a particular work station was jinxed and needed some FengShui healing as none of its occupants lasted more than a week in the company. Whenever a new person was allocated the seat we were monstrously awaiting the "Good bye, till we meet again" email to see if the jinx was still in power!

Speaking of jinxed objects, the movie Jumanji comes to mind. I know there have been newer versions but my favorite is the very first one where we have huge creepers coming out of the ground and people transported to live in the jungle and lions and gun-holding hunters landing in the house.

There is a branch of gemology that deals with luck or ill-luck brought about by gemstones and some people very firmly believe the idea. Some pearls or diamonds are supposed to bring good luck while others are supposed to be jinxed and would bring misfortune to the wearer or control their actions. You may have observed some of these people wearing huge multicolored rings.

Another common usage of Jinx is when two of us says the same thing at the same time.

I love to silently observe when my daughter and her friends are playing and two of them utter something simultaneously; There would be a loud exclamation of Jinx!! and they would break into childish giggles echoing around my home. 

Such giggles are powerful enough to get rid of any Jinxes I guess! :)



Saturday, April 10, 2021

I Invisibily Invincible

 Imagine there is a cloak, wearing which people can see through you and that you become totally invisible. If this kind of an Invisibility Cloak comes into the possession of a teenager how often would he use it ? Harry Potter has such a cloak that he puts to many a use to go to prohibited places at prohibited times . To follow the bullies in Slytherin House, to sneak out of Hogwarts in the middle of the night and what not! 

It reminds me of the movie Hollow Man where a group of scientists discover the formula and methodology to making a person irreversibly invisible. The person who offers himself for the experiment starts getting sinister ideas once he has the power. 

What could one do if one had the power to become invisible ?

It would be the best asset to become a detective or maybe an intelligence agent ? You can be anywhere and observe all that you want. But I am not sure if you can take pictures . I wonder if the camera will be a part of the invisibility. 

Of course one can be the super good guy cum super hero going to all places of injustice, brutality, exploitation or bullying and teach all the bad guys a lesson. 

Looking at it from a selfish perspective we could travel wherever we want. Walk into the airport and board any plane you want and see whatever you want and keep country hopping! How cool is that ?

Play as many pranks as you want on everyone you know.  

Wherever you want to go movies, theatre, music show it's a free ticket less entry . 

 I recently watched Miss Perigraine s home for peculiar children on Netflix (Hope I got that name right) and there is a boy there who is always invisible. 

What do you think you would do if you were invisible? Does that make you invincible ?



Friday, April 9, 2021

Headless and more heads

 


Ghosts can be scary and spooky and can be used to create horror but they are quite a common appearance at Hogwarts School of wizardry in Harry Potter. In fact some of them have very unique names . There is Moaning Myrtle , a woebegone girl ghost , Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor ghost and one of the teachers Professor Binns who teaches them history. 

Nearly Headless Nick is called so because his neck is not completely severed and  a small part of his head still attached at the base. Poor fellow , for this reason he is unable to join the fun activities at the annual Headless Hunt as they only accept ghosts that had lost their heads totally. 

Speaking of heads there is a huge three headed dog Fluffy if I recall the name correctlt that makes its appearance in the first book and falls asleep when music is played.

Having multiple heads or hands is a common depiction of the gods and goddesses in Indian mythology.  It's sometimes symbolic of a more inner philosophical meaning but on a superficial level it's quite interesting.

There are childrens tales in India about a person called Tenali Rama who was the court jester of one King Krishnadeva Raya . These stories are amusing and combine wit and wisdom.

There is an interesting story that I have read about him as a kid. Once when he was asleep in a temple , Goddess Kaali appeared before him and she had a hundred heads.

On seeing the goddess instead of bowing to her or asking for some blessing , he started rolling on the floor  with uncontrollable laughter . The goddess was annoyed but curious about his behaviour. When asked what was wrong he replied " If I catch the nasty flu, I have such a hard time for a whole week. If you catch a cold I wonder what you go through with that one hundred heads of yours! Ha ha ha "

He was given the name vi-ka-ta-ka-vi by the goddess that's a palindrome and means poet of great wit.




Thursday, April 8, 2021

Giants, Grawp and Ghatothkacha!

 I remember watching the movie "Honey I blew up the kid" in primary school. A scientist accidentally transforms his toddler into a gigantic size and it wreaks havoc all around. I have a vivid memory of the climax scene where they blow up the mother as well in an attempt to pacify the poor distraught child!

Creatures of enormous height have always fascinated us. Didn't King Kong vs Godzilla just hit the theatres? And who can forget the awe we had watching the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park? Has any of you watched a show called Giant Robot?

Giants are a quintessential part of every folklore. In Harry Potter, Hagrid is the keeper of the grounds and keys and he is huge because he is half-giant and half-human. He has a half-brother(no more halves, I promise) who is entirely of giant origin called Grawp. Giants are depicted by Rowling to be of loud and barbaric nature who often attack and slay each other. In fact Hagrid himself, though a lot more civilized has quite a lot of messy behaviors including the food he eats. The giants are not on very good terms with the magical world. In fact in one of her pages, JKR imagines mountaineering accidents to be actually the works of an angry giant disguised by the press.

We have a good share of giants in our Indian mythology too and demons and demonesses that are massive and scary.

The Mahabharata is an important text and a huge epic containing innumerable interwoven stories. An important event and the culminating story in the book is an 18 day war fought between the righteous Pandavas (They are 5 sons of king Pandu hence called Pandavas) and the evil guys, their cousins , the Kauravas (100 brothers and cousins of the Pandavas by birth).

Bhima, the second of the Pandavas and the son of the wind-god Vayu . During times when they had to stay in forests he is attacked by a demon called Hidimba whom he vanquishes and slays. Hidimba's sister Hidimbi falls in love with him and marries him. This human-giant(or demoness) couple has a son called Ghatothkacha. This giant plays a crucial part in the Mahabharatha war. Though he is killed, he causes extensive loss to the enemy by assuming his biggest form and falling on them in his final moments.

There is a beautiful temple in Manali in the state of Himachal Pradesh amidst the lower ranges of the Himalayas dedicated to Hidimbi and her son Ghatothkacha. 


PhotoCredit: Yours Truly :)

                                                      

Given a choice what would I want? Being a huge giantess or someone miniscule like Thumbelina I wonder! What would be your preference and why?