I Wish I Could Tell You

It’s been a while
since I finally accepted
the end.
But my heart still aches
everytime I think
of how we ended.
And if I could go back,
I wish I could tell you:
I stayed for so long,
not because I was weak
but because I believed
in the good person in you.
And I left, not because
you stopped wanting me,
but because I no longer
loved myself by loving you.

The Harry Potter World Is Weird

Now now, before you all begin to hate me without reading what I have to say, please know that I’m a huge fan of the series, and I believe it is one of the most captivating books of this century perhaps. But that being said, it doesn’t overshadow the fact that the Harry Potter World doesn’t make any sense from time to time. Even to a fan like me. I’d explain.

See, I’ve been introduced to Harry Potter pretty late. I was in middle school when the books came out and I thought to myself, “oh a book about wizard, okay”, and that was that. Then my friends read it and started telling me all about it, and I came to know about Harry Potter and his owl, which surprisingly did little to appeal to my interests.

I came around in my teens when I actually started reading the books, courtesy my girlfriend who was a huge Potterhead and made me read them when she found out that I didn’t find them interesting enough to start. And I loved it! I loved how easy it was to imagine yourself in the world, and I really enjoyed some of the characters… but there were problems. A lot of problems. Brace yourselves, its going to be a long post :

Hogwarts produces Level 1 wizards, if that. I’m referring here to the shorthand for approximating relative power levels between characters in role-playing games, but to translate: Wizards spend 7 years in school at Hogwarts, and at the end of it, most of them can’t do anything more impressive than momentarily animate someone’s boogers. And we think modern education in the real world teaches nothing.

The power balance makes no sense. This folds into the last item, but ridiculously powerful artifacts and spells are everywhere and frankly not all that hard to acquire. The main characters routinely find, use, and create them; mysteriously, no one else seems interested in bothering. For one example: the time-turner is the kind of magic that could break reality — I guarantee you Tom Riddle would have enslaved the planet in a matter of a week if he’d got his hands on it — but the school freely lends it out to Hermione, and then all she can think of to do with it is take extra classes. And I haven’t even gotten into how Britain’s most intelligent, most ruthless, and overall best wizards can be handily defeated by simple ruses, elementary spells, and “love.”

Also, the Harry Potter World is peopled with too few wizards who are potently deadly duelists. Try to make a list of the 10 strongest wizards. What do you have? Dumbledore, Voldemort, Grindelwand? Then what? Snape or McGonagall? That’s a huge drop off.

The wizard economy makes no sense. Apart from a very narrow industrial sector for wizarding goods and a few service-oriented businesses, what markets does the economy even have? How does anyone get a paying job? (They may not be congruent with book canon, but the movies depict hundreds or possibly thousands of people working at the Ministry of Magic — so is the whole thing underpinned by deliberate maintenance of unnecessary layers of processing and bureaucracy, like Japan taken to an insane extreme?) It’s not a post-scarcity economy because there are rich people and poor people, somehow — and money MUST have a value, or else Gringotts wouldn’t have such ridiculous security. I would surmise that the only economy in popular fiction that makes even less sense than the Harry Potter economy is the Hunger Games economy, but that’s another post.

What happened to wizard academia? Dumbledore published magical research papers in his teens and bonded with Grindelwald, a similarly accomplished young man of powerful intellect — then they fight, and then it’s never mentioned again! Where did all the wizard researchers go? Were they the only two? Does anyone even care by the time Harry comes around, or has wizarding suffered an anti-intellectual devolution across Dumbledore’s lifetime? Maybe this ties into the repeated demonstrations in the books of wizards’ willful stupidity about the non-wizarding world.

Why is there NO collaboration between the wizarding and muggle worlds at ANY level, even in secret? No mudbloods bring their families into the fold at all, not even with an eye for criminal activity? The SAS doesn’t have one wizard special forces unit? (I could believe that MI5 and MI6 keep that stuff way under wraps.) Rufus Scrimgeour is content to just tell the PM a bunch of cryptic BS about the war and peace out, not to petition for any kind of help?

The plot is totally predictable. The only real surprise in the plot is Snape’s backstory.

Almost none of the major conflicts are between well-matched opponents, so few of the conflicts have any tension or excitement. Sometimes there’s something like the fight between Voldemort and Dumbledore, but most of the time the heroes have been loaded up in advance with every possible ace against the much more powerful bad guys, or you know they can’t lose because it wouldn’t make sense for them to lose for narrative reasons. The only attempt to balance this out is with good guy deaths, most of which are non sequitur, offscreen, or both.

The four Houses of Hogwarts actually exist to delineate story roles. Forget all that hooey about personality traits. Gryffindor is good guys, Slytherin is bad guys, Ravenclaw is Gryffindor’s B team, and Hufflepuff… occasionally produces a human shield for Harry (RIP Diggory and Tonks).

None of the romances are believable. Characters just get together at random. Very often there’s never even a hint about why any two characters are attracted to each other. (Before you say “it’s a children’s book,” read almost any other children’s or Young Adult book with a love story.)

But really, in my opinion, the single worst thing is:

The main three characters are the most boring characters in the books. I couldn’t get enough of Dumbledore, Snape, Sirius, the other Blacks and the adult Malfoys, Gilderoy Lockhart, and lots of other B and C list characters who are colorful, interesting, and well-realized in the story. But for most of the series, Harry is just a thing being pushed along by the adults around him and by revelations about the past; the narration gives us his immediate reactions, but it takes him a very long time to grow any personality. I found myself somewhat bewildered as to why any of the adults were so fond of him, apart from pleasant memories of his mother (couldn’t have been because they missed his asshole dad). Meanwhile, Hermione and Ron hardly rate any individuality. Hermione exists to provide trivia ex machina that instantly solves problems, and Ron exists to provide random solutions ex machina when Hermione’s been overused. And Ron’s demonstrated abilities aren’t even consistent with his behavior (he’s brilliant at wizard chess, yet he’s the dopey idiot in every other situation)?

It’s a testament to the books’ power that in spite of all of the above flaws, they’re still great fun to read and I don’t consider my time spent on them wasted at all. If nothing else, they’ve led to lots of fun discussions and arguments with my girlfriend!

(Most of the ideas here were actually her’s).

How To Woo A Writer

Know the easiest way to woo a writer? For beginners, don’t set your sights on being their muse. A writer’s work tends to be a reflection of things they understand, but their minds are constantly preoccupied by thoughts they cannot grasp and concepts they cannot comprehend. A writer is curious and eternally intrigued; what they already fathom will never fascinate them.

In essence, never be a known entity to a writer. Instead, be the enigma that evades them. Be the emotion that toys with their inhibitions, but one they would still give a part of their sanity to decipher. Be an incomplete poem, be a half-written story; be the crumpled piece of paper tossed frustratingly into a bin because they couldn’t find the words to describe what lies within.

Know the easiest way to woo a writer? Be the paradox they couldn’t put into words.

Hi! (Again)

When I look at the last post from this blog, it almost depresses me. It been more than a year that I’ve managed to hoodwink my own self and everyone around me (who still care about my writing) not updating the blog in the pretext of being busy with one thing or the other. Truth be told, it was just laziness. If they had an award for lazing around, I’d be the undisputed champ.

True, I had my exams and had to study a little to not fail, but it wasn’t like my leisurely activities were cut short in any ways. No. I was still spending generous hours on Facebook and YouTube, doing absolutely nothing of use but only when it came to updating my blog did conscience strike like thunder, telling me that I shouldn’t be wasting valuable time updating my blog that is read by, like, 20 people. So I went on to play Counter Strike instead. The blog kept on dropping down on my priority list and was eventually forgotten to be existent until a good friend of mine read the previous posts here and literally forced me to update this. So here we are.

I think I’ll post more regularly now. Lets see how long that lasts!

 

The Art Of Killing Mosquitoes

Day 9

Mosquito hunting with the electrical bat can surprisingly be quite therapeutic. Especially during study holidays when one frequently feels the need to maim or seriously injure.

It also comes with a LED torch in case you need something bigger than a mosquito, hiding behind the closet, to electrocute to death.

I don’t know what function the torch has in electrocuting mosquitoes to death.

And I’ve only broken one glass so far.

I actually think they should make it into an Olympic sport. Send in a guy with a fully charged mosquito bat, and give him +10 for every dead mosquito and -5 for every bite. And a disqualification for breaking anything, just to keep things interesting.

Happy Birthday, Brother!

Day 19

You know, ever since childhood, I always wanted a sibling. I’d see my friends with siblings in school, who’d talk about how they played together and did fun stuff, or maybe fought over a little toy, and I’d always wonder what it would be like to have a brother. To have someone to call your own. Someone you can share your secrets with, someone who you can call up in times of distress, and most importantly, someone you can trust to be on your side through the odds and evens of life.

I call you brother because that’s what you are for me. My brother from another mother.

And we go a long way back, don’t we? And now that I stop for a moment and reflect back on the past, the days bygone, I can’t somehow manage to recollect the first day we met. It’s like we’ve always been friends, only the friendship strengthened after a point in time.

You’ve been one heck of a guy right from the start. One of my earliest associations in college, you came in as a whiff of fresh air amongst the several other wannabe-suave guys that crowded our department. I’d introspected on it a lot, on what is it really about you that makes you so effortless. So simple. And from what I’ve seen of you in the past two and a half years, it’s been one of the greatest lessons of my life – when the world is running after abstraction, you are exceptionally uncomplicated.

I can’t help but think at this moment how would my life be without you. I know there are other friends, but none like you, who knows every detail of me. Nobody knows which the right words in the right time are like you do. We’ve laughed at each other, and we’ve laughed with each other and I can’t thank you enough for everything that you’ve done for me, for standing with me in times when I needed you to, for making me feel good, for not being judgmental with all my nuisances, and for extending the mental support that you do.
I know I don’t open up as much, but I think your birthday is the perfect moment to tell you all that I don’t in a normal day, to extend my gratitude, and to tell you how important you are to me.

On this day, I wish you prosperity and greatness, health and wisdom, and I pray you get all that you crave and succeed in every endeavour you undertake. I wish you a very happy birthday.

Love
Your Friend

Scraps 2.3

Day 18

I don’t like talking on the phone with you. And I’ll always tell you that it’s because I hate my voice.
I don’t like video conferences, and I’ll always tell you that it’s because I hate how the video and audio never sync properly because of my horrible internet connection.
The only reason we text is because I don’t quite want to go a day without your presence around me.
But if I were to be brutally true to you, I don’t like the phone because it reduces you to sound waves, and I don’t like video because it reduces you to pixels on my tiny screen, and it bothers me that I can’t feel you, touch you, smell you, or know you’re, in the simplest of terms, alive, and metabolizing next to me, because when we’re together, between us, in quiet symphony, even the absolute stillness speaks.

Scraps 5.0

Day 14

It always has a pattern. You meet a great person. You become friends with them. Then come the late night conversations. Finally you confess your love. Not to the said person of course, but to your best friend. Then days go by tearing the petals of a freshly plucked flower called love. And you finally make the all-important confession. And if you are lucky, your love is reciprocated.

But for how long? Maybe a few months. After that it all comes crashing down in a whirlwind of misplaced emotions. If both of you agree that you have somehow fallen out of that love that a week back you thought was irreplaceable while lying in bed, then you are doomed with being just friends for the rest of your lives. If it’s not consensual then one of you leaves scarred, the shadow of which falls on your next irreplaceable love. Regardless how it ends, you leave a part of yourself back to where you thought you will always belong.

But when you somehow think that you have lasted long enough for both of you to be together forever, wake up in each others’ arms every morning for the rest of your lives and do all the things that cute posts on Instagram ask you to do for you to be a perfect couple, then why is it that you still have a figment of emotion left in your head that doubts your significant other and constantly tries to hinder your perfect love life with your perfect person? Is it just the jealousy that other people get to spend more time with that person you thought will forever have your undivided attention or is it because you still do not know if your love is same as the one that your friends have who seem to move on to a next every few months? Whatever it may be, it is certain to wreak havoc in your perfect home. Doubt is something that does not let you rest. It eats you from the inside because you know that the moment you show it, it spells doom.

Why can you not doubt and just stay the way you were when the relationship began and it seemed like neither of you could get enough of each other? Why is it that doubt always results in you deciding to leave the person with whom till a few days back you thought you will have two kids in a nice house with a dog to give you company while the kids are out to play? Why can you not fight the doubt? Worse, why can you not fight the doubt together? Is your love not strong enough to defeat a puny figment of emotion that is swept under the carpet in a dark corner of your brain where you do not even want to go? Because when you have something that you cherish, something that makes you so happy that you do not mind growing old anymore, do not mind leaving people you care about just because you care about this person the most, it something you keep and not something you let go off. You fight for it. You make it live. Because always remember that the night when you had hugged her, you had thought that that place was the best place in this world and that place will never change. Come what may. It may get lost but there is nothing that is lost which cannot be found. There is no love that is ever lost. It is just two people who do not want to try hard enough.