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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Summer in Hogwarts- A Harry Potter Short Story

Author's Note:
I miss Harry Potter. The nagging pain wouldn't ebb away so I decided to write this short story on Severus and Lily (featuring James). I think from all the love stories that I have read and take into account also classics- Romeo and Juliet etc, my heart really goes out for Severus. It wasn't a love story because Lily never saw Severus the same way, but he loved her with every ounce of emotion in him, even when it broke his heart and even when Harry was nothing but a painful reminder of Lily. My heart swells for Severus Snape because he was the most realistic character in the whole of the Harry Potter Universe. True love is not just making promises to love till death do you part. True love is the art of letting go, the sacrifice and sometimes realising that you may never get that ;Happy Ending' maybe because reality doesn't will it. Because of this I respect Severus Snape because he loved unconditionally but despite his forced reality. 

Summer greeted Hogwarts like an old friend. The stately castle stood with grace and timeless beauty, a joyous radiance ejaculating from every sun-kissed brick. Even the shadows danced gleefully, a sense of bubbling happiness was found in every nook and corner of the castle. Students were filling up the grounds of the school draping the warm grass with colourful sheets and mats. Some were gathered for a good ol' picnic, where the delicious aroma of The Three Broomsticks’ Jam Tarts Specials filled the humidity in the air and not to forget one could hear the opening of bottles and glasses being filled of chilled butter beer. The atmosphere was light-hearted and care-free, one could hear a group laughing over Rita Skeeter’s latest fashion editorial in The Daily Prophet's Summer Special Edition. 

“Blimey” said one Ravenclaw fourth-year, “Perhaps wearing floral printed robes is the worst possible idea.” “Yeah” commented another fellow fourth-year Ravenclaw, “Millie Morgenstern from Hufflepuff was seen wearing this printed bright yellow dandelions robes to Potions class and apparently Professor Slughorn was so scandalized by her rather ‘bold move’ that he added too much moonshine into Millie potion batch and the whole cauldron exploded.” The former Ravenclaw chuckled and drowned her glass of butter beer with a satisfied smirk, “I believe this is what the muggles call a ‘fashion disaster’.”

Obscured from public view and very much away from the much talked ‘fashion drama’ and the music and dance that the students were engaging themselves in to, one student sat under the shade of a giant oak tree and indulged himself in a bit of reading. He was tall for his age with an average build and an equally average porcelain face. His long greasy jet black hair was swept back for today, though a few disobedient strands fell on his face and every few minutes he would push them back. You could say he was a bit of a loner, or rather he preferred to keep to himself, people either kept their distance from him or frequently bullied him. Basking under the sun, drinking, eating and singing songs off the Daily Prophet Pop Charts wasn't something Severus Snape was into. 

“Such a complete waste of time, how utterly annoying,” he would often say. Right now he was engrossed in A History of Magic, in the midst of a very interesting passage on Diricawls:

‘Little could be heard over the squawking of the Diricawls, the moaning of the Augureys, and the relentless, piercing song of the Fwoopers. As wizards and witches attempted to consult the papers before them, sundry pixies and fairies whirled around their heads, giggling and jabbering. A dozen or so trolls began to smash apart the chamber with their clubs, while hags glided about the place in search of children to eat. The Council Chief stood up to open the meeting, slipped on a pile of Porlock dung and ran cursing from the hall…’

He felt his eyes water, he could see the text of the book were blurry lines that seemed to merge altogether. He shut the book and stuffed it into his brown-leather satchel. All his classes were done for the day and he felt a sense of lassitude overcoming his senses. Severus stifled a yawn and blinked multiple times trying to shake off the weariness he was feeling. He could go to the Slytherin Dorm room and catch some sleep but the afternoon was lazy and the idea of getting up from his comfortable position seemed ridiculous. He relaxed into a sleeping position and set his satchel as a makeshift pillow for his head. He looked up and stared at the sky that was partially shrouded by the leaves of the giant oak tree. His thoughts directed him to another memory where he was lying in a grass field when he heard two female voices arguing.

"I'm not a freak. That's a horrible thing to say, Petunia."

“You’re a freak Lily! You’re a freak Lily! I don’t talk to freaks!”

He must have been around ten when he first saw the ginger-head girl sitting and sulking down by the riverbed. Even then Severus was a shy boy, but he mustered up enough courage to make his presence known. He tapped her shoulder and she turned to him, he was enamored. She had a lovely set of emerald green eyes, he couldn't help but stare into her eyes, he wasn't accustomed to seeing so much beauty and depth in a person’s eyes. His own were dull boring black. He sat down beside her and she smiled shyly and extended her hand towards him, “Lily Evans, the freak” he hesitated but took her hand, “Severus Snape, also a freak” he said softly. 

From that day on, they became the best of friends, he told her about all about the magical world and that it didn’t matter that she was a muggle, “You have magic blood in your veins. You’re special.” She would blush and say, “You are special too Severus.” 

Present day Severus felt a small smile form on his lips, Lily always had that effect on him. He felt his heart beat resounding clearly in his ears. Even though she ended up in Gryffindor and he in Slytherin, she was still nice to him but it always angered him when he saw her hanging out with that brash kid, James Potter and his posse. He sighed deeply, his heart sinking in his chest. Lucius Malfoy had heard rumours that Lily and James were a couple now, of course Malfoy relayed this news to Severus out of ‘concern’. Severus said nothing though a part of him died a little. Love as an emotion was something that he had no idea about. He never experienced love as a child and he never gave love otherwise but with Lily it was different. She was nice to him, she was kind to him and he for the first time opened up to someone. Severus always had a special corner for Lily in his heart and as the years passed by, that special corner burst into a blooming flower of love. Before Severus knew, he had fallen in love with Lily Evans, but she was apparently in love with someone else.

Severus sighed and gathered his satchel, he was about to leave when he heard voices. He stopped, he recognized that voice. It was the saccharine voice of an angel, the girl he was so deeply in love with. It was Lily. He hid behind the Oak tree and watched her quietly skip her way towards the clearing. Severus felt his pulse escalate and he couldn’t stop the wide smile that wore his countenance. Lily was dancing in the sun, a fiery red-headed dame, twirling and exclaiming in glee. Severus was about to step in, when a full bodied figure stepped in and covered her eyes. She squealed and patted the hands, shouting out guesses. Severus sunk against the oak tree and watched James Potter release his hands and take Lily’s hand into his. He twirled her around and lifted her into the air. Not very far away, Severus could feel his heart sinking into a pit of pain. Severus wanted to run away, but his limbs betrayed him and he stayed rooted to the ground. Ahead of him James brushed a lock of Lily’s hair under her ear and their forehead’s met. 

“I love you Lily Evans” he proclaimed. 

Behind the oak tree, Snape had a rising feeling of nausea attacking him, he prayed and silently hoped that Lily wouldn’t say-

“I love you too, James Potter”.

Severus could hear his heart shatter into infinite pieces. He could hear James rejoicing and Lily laughing melodiously. Severus tried to drown their sounds out but they resonated louder and louder in his head. Tears streamed down his face and a symphony of heartbreak and pain preceded, breaking his will and his stability. Severus sat there for a very long time, dwelling in his silent grief. Lily and James were long gone, but the gaping hole in his heart grew expanded, pangs of loneliness wounded him…

Summer in Hogwarts allowed lovers to meet, hearts entwined, friendships cemented and students claimed to have lived the best days of their lives. Away and far away from the contented crowd, one boy, stood alone and watched the woman of his dream from afar. He watched her walk hand in hand with his number one enemy but also the luckiest man in this world. He turned away, a realisation perched atop his broken heart. He would never be able to let her go. He could never fall in love again because Lily was the only woman ever worth loving. He wished for her all the joy and happiness even if she was with James. Even after all these years and even in the years that are yet to come, he would always be in love with Lily Evans.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

"She's a Weirdo"

This blog post is dedicated to the general public. Specifically to those people who think that I am too absurd to function. I know they in particular might never find themselves reading this post but I think its about time I speak up for myself and say the truth. I am not putting myself up on a pedestal and presenting myself as a victim of social stigma or anything. What I plan to do here, is get honest and real. I can’t wait for someone to take the effort to know my side of the story or even begin to know the person that I am. I’m just going to make it easier on my friends, my family (they won’t be reading this but still) and even to you readers, to get to know the person I really am. Hopefully after this article whether you know me in person or even vaguely you have a clearer picture of what actually goes on in my mind. If you can follow through with this blog post then I think you know who I really am and not the fa├žade people claim I wear.

I am not stupid. I see myself as quite an intelligent person. Math is not my strongest suit and I don’t think that my IQ is low because I am not a science student. You see most of my relatives love pointing out how my ‘lack of aptitude towards science is so unfortunate’. This sort of mentality frustrates me because I work my ass off on a daily basis and just because I am a humanities student that does not mean that I have nothing to do. I love the sciences and I read about of science journals the only difference is that I don’t want to actively pursue it as much as I would love to endorse English Literature. In fact, it is proven by a study that was conducted by Billington, Baron-Cohen et al that our ‘brain type’ can be systemizing or empathizing and accordingly we find ourselves habituated. So science students are systemizing and humanity students are empathizing. Give this study a read by just clicking on the link (it’s a bit heavy loaded with psychological terms but you should be able to get the gist of it).

Ever since I was a kid, everyone in my family saw me as this shy, reserved kid. I wasn’t like other children my age, to some extent I was different to the point where I couldn’t fit in any group or take up the same hobbies as them. I blame my brother. I was too ‘cool’ and mature for my age. My socializing skills were terrible and it also had to do with the fact that I hardly ever spoke and just let my silence do the talking. Even at home, where I should express myself a lot more freely, it was always 40% of my thoughts. For some reason I refrained from sharing and I guess even as kid I was more introspective than expressive. To a certain degree I am still like that. I still hesitate to say how I feel. I can take a stand, I can prove my point, I can fight tooth and nail for myself but for less aggressive emotions like love and trust, I hesitate. Psychologically speaking, I do compartmentalize my feelings and I never ever tell anyone how I actually feel. In fact if you find you find me crying, I’d probably tell you a lie and never the truth. If I began to tell you the truth, at the back of my mind I’d be wondering how much is too much and I’d keep on regretting every syllable that voices out of my mouth. My friends often ask me why I do this, why I hesitate so much to tell them what exactly is wrong with me but the truth is, I’m too scared. I’m scared that if I share my worries and troubles etcetera, they may feel overburdened and that it would end up being troublesome for them. I keep it all in because I don’t want to be mollycoddled and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I believe that there are people with way more baggage than I and it would be selfish for me to feel like it’s the end of the world. 

For this reason, most of my relatives thought that I was passive to emotions and a cold-hearted kid. Which I am the exact opposite off. Why haven’t I punched these people’s faces? (I don’t resort to violence-Shocker!) The label stuck for most part of my childhood. Did it hurt? Yes, of course it did. Did I cry over the fact that I was a loner and people kept their distance? Yes, every night. Thankfully, I had my brother and literature to keep me company. Books actually were my best friends, Enid Blyton was like my big sister and her stories and characters were my life. I would pretend to be in her fantasy world where I was friends with Ann, George, Dick, Julian, solving mysteries and sometimes chilling with the secret seven or the O’Sullivan twins.

When I got into the 5th grade my loner status changed. The ‘popular kids’ opened the doors to their clique, in fact all of my classmates started interacting with me. Lunch was now shared, I was invited to birthdays willingly and not because a parent took pity on me. I discovered friendship for the first time and it was beautiful and strangely exciting. This was until I overheard one of my teachers call me ‘The Neglected Child’. I had developed good vocabulary due to my extensive reading so, I knew the meaning of the word and I was upset. Again, I had been labeled, unfairly so! and I kept wondering why or what I had done wrong. Ever since that day, my bubble burst and I withdrew even further into my shell.
The reason why I talk so much is because I never spoke enough as a kid. I’m making up for all the lost phrases and monologues I could have had. If I am loud it’s because the rare moments where I would talk, I would speak in an octave 10 times lower than usual. I didn’t even know what I sounded like and it’s kind of hard to understand the tone of your voice inside your head. I like making people laugh, I like being the reason behind their smile or their good mood. I seek appreciation because I wanted to defy the labels that were put on me as a kid. I wanted to overrule their judgment. Who is to understand all of this? Even jokingly my friends would be like, “don’t be your usual self or attract attention, we know people here”. You have no idea how much that takes a dip in my self-esteem and it is so hard to shake off a comment like that but I smile and wave because I have a show to put on.

A show to put on…

This is why I prefer being alone most of the times. I just like sitting in my room either reading or watching a good anime or a TV show. I like blogging and writing out stories to pass time. Sometimes I take long walks and just observe people and gaugefrom their behavior what their life must be like. I humour myself with skits and situations I design or usually, I just stare out the window and watch strangers go on with their lives. And I like this solidarity. This relationship with myself is less harmful because I won’t attach a label or plan to hurt myself. It is lonely but there are no masks to wear and no touch ups to hide the most obvious flaws.

You often look back to see if there if anyone following you, if there is anyone coming running towards you. We want that, we all do. We want someone coming to check on us and often when you look back you’re disappointed because either you don’t see anyone behind you or the person you expect to see if not there waiting for you. You feel gutted right? Well get used to it.

Don’t keep expectations, it’s the worst. Let life surprise you but don’t expect anything out of it. Friendship, family, love, relationships are institutions but don’t attach expectations to them. You get served what you deserve. Karma and God have one thing in common, they both pass judgments. Our lives are not deterministic, we live and play it out according to our own tunes. We make things happen, we set our lives into motion. That’s why I don’t want to associate myself with these labels. Why should I be known as that ‘weirdo who talks so much’? My name is Evita-Marie Marques and this is my identity. 

I don’t understand why most of us are so quick to judge. We love defining people to a certain category and placing a neat label on them hoping that it will stick forever on them. This label becomes their identity in a social group, this label becomes a representative, a spokesperson to my actual personality, this label, positive or negative attaches to my personality like a tumor. And little by little it begins to grow until I finally accept the fact that this is a part of me. This is when I fulfil that label. This is when I believe every judgment passed about me. I begin to believe that I am ‘annoying’, ‘self-centered’, ‘loud’, ‘brash’, ‘loser’ and ‘stupid’. These labels begin to define me, these label begin to shape up my personality. I question every time I open my mouth to voice out an opinion. Suddenly, my happiness is negated and others’ acceptance is far more important. I am expected to fulfil their labels, I am supposed to ditch my shoes and wear the one they have customized for me. I have to shed my skin to take on a skin that suits their requirements. I have to not be myself, because “She’s a weirdo” and I don’t belong here if I don’t follow the rules.

What am I supposed to do? This is who I am. I come across as delusion, eccentric and intriguing to many people. I am an entertainer, I can draw people in and you can rely on me for a good hearty laugh. For years I have mastered the art of keeping my feelings locked away bolted and shut for eternity. Actually I am a time bomb, ticking away, no idea when I might just set off. I hear it in my head and I hear it with utmost clarity when I am all alone. My tastes are singular and my thinking is too off beat for a 16 year old but this is who I am, I can’t be someone else, even if I tried, even if I wanted to. I can’t give the real me up. 

The real me is shy. The real me is emotional and sometimes just wants a hug or a comforting pat on the back after a long and tiring day. The real me wishes her parents would give her a break and loosen the reins a little. The real me wonders what her friends actually think about her. The real raw me, doesn’t want to share how she feels, because she is scared that it may do more harm than good. She isn’t selfish, she puts others first, even though it may sting at times. She is the person who dreams of publishing her work because she loves writing and she wants to touch and inspire people with her stories. She wants to make a difference and gain respect among her family and her peers. She wants to succeed on her own merit accomplish her goals through her hard work and investment. I want to find happiness so strong that it may drive away my darkest hours. I want to make memories that last and find love that is meaningful and secure not tumultuous and aggressive. And I know that I can still be myself and achieve these goals. I can’t be anyone else, my shades of true me will keep on flooding my canvas. You can’t please everyone, you have to get used to rejection. You can’t love everyone you have to learn to love yourself first. Trust is not elastic, you can’t extend it to a whole crowd.

To every single person in my life who has raised an objection to my character and self-belief you don’t know anything about me to being with. Why? Because I never ever showed you my weakness or my insecurities and if I ever had, you twisted them and drove it straight through my heart. I am weird but what is your definition of normal? Personally, I think I am fantastic. And that’s what matters. So yes quirks and all, I’m good with myself because let’s face it haters’ gonna hate.
Arigato gozimasu

PS: Hai, I know a little Japanese. Sometimes kids, having an anime obsession can lead you to learning a new language. There are perks in your quirks, hon. Don’t give them up ;)