Harry Potter and my husband

A photograph of a viaduct in Yorkshire, Dales, You can see the bridge and four viaducts, and in the front there is a carpet of green. From the second left of the viaduct, you can see in the far beyond the shape/slope of a hill.
A photograph from a 2017 trip to Yorkshire, Dales – this viaduct reminded us of the bridge that is shown in the Harry Potter movies, the one you spot as the steam train transforms into the Hogwarts Express and crosses a viaduct.

At bedtime, a silence gathers around our marital bed. It is so thick, it almost feels like a swarm of mosquitoes has surrounded the space above our heads. A bit absurd that – silence and a buzzing swarm of mosquitoes, but that is how the silence feels.

The husband is hooked to his iPad. Any attempt at conversation is met with – “Can you please let me read?”

However this doesn’t annoy or offend me.

Sometimes at the end of his reading, he has some questions.

“Is butterbeer a real thing?”

“Shall we do a Harry Potter themed meal?”

“Why are the books named differently in the UK and the US ? Harry Potter and the philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?”

His questions are endearing, and they make my heart smile.

You see, my husband and I have different tastes when it comes to reading, though there are a few books and authors that we have both enjoyed.

When I met my husband, I was so happy that he read. Anything at all. I had given up on the hopes of meeting a Gujarati man who read. (I wasn’t particularly looking for a Gujarati husband, but the men that were ‘introduced’ to me in an arranged setting were all Gujarati. I had dreams of finding someone from the Bengali community because I thought they were very well-read, but that’s an entirely different story in itself.)

I must sound very biased or rather prejudiced when it comes to Gujarati men. These biases stem from the fact that a lot of Gujarati men that I was introduced to did not care for reading, and one even asked me, as his eyes took in the shelves full of books in my bedroom: “Are these all your books?” When I said yes, I remember that he had shaken his head in disbelief and said, “Wow. You must have an opinion on everything.”

Therefore, I was, naturally very pleased when I discovered via our email and gchat correspondences that the man I was chatting to (my future husband) was a reader.

However, like I said, our tastes were different.

When he came to know that I had read and enjoyed the Harry Potter series, and would often borrow them from the library – when we moved to Reading in United Kingdom – to read them again, he would tease me. “These books are meant for children; they aren’t for adults.”

He refused to pick them up.

I let it be.

Then one day, he came home from work, and I was watching a Harry Potter movie. I don’t remember which one.

I left the TV on and went to the kitchen to make ourselves a cup of tea.

It must have been five minutes or so, and he called out to me.

“What is this hissing creature?”

Without looking at the screen, I said, “Nagini.”

After a minute or two, he called out again. “Prerna.”

“Yes?”

“Can you switch this off?”

Irritation and anger rose quickly to my face. “You know, just because you don’t like Harry Potter doesn’t mean I can’t watch it.”

“No, it’s not that,” he said; his face all sheepish.

“Then what?”

“I am, umm, getting very interested in all this. Can we watch the movies together. But from the beginning?”

I stood there, transfixed, whilst the tea boiled and brewed in the kitchen. Eventually I switched off the TV. It was as if I had witnessed magic – I was certain that someone cast a spell over my husband.

A month or two later we watched all the movies. Then when we were in India during the first wave of Covid-19, we watched the movies again, this time with my husband’s younger sister.

The husband had clearly fallen for the stories, and the characters – liking Dobby, disliking how he was treated by the Malfoy family, getting angry at Snape and later feeling deeply for him, hating the romance between Hermione and Ron (“why do we need romance in everything?”), cheering for Harry and also for Dumbledore…

And this past month, about five years or so after he first stumbled upon Nagini, and the world of Harry Potter, he bought all the books, albeit the Kindle editions.

So when night looms, and silence hovers over our bed, and questions mushroom thereafter, I smile to myself.

Here we are. Both 40 plus. The husband reading Harry Potter; engrossed, interested and hooked in the words and the world it creates. Falling for the books he had dismissed as being for children.

But perhaps we all have a child within us.

P.S. He has looked up butterbeer recipe and is keen to have that, as well as a Harry Potter themed meal. A couple of days ago, he also had me in splits when I asked him where he was, in his reading, and he answered to me in chaste Gujarati (our mother tongue) – “Have e ena cousin ni foi ne fugo banavi ne akaash ma chavgse.” Roughly translated it would mean, ‘I am at the point when Harry would make a balloon out of his cousin’s aunt and cast her away into the clouds.’

A steam train with puffs of smoke is going along a track. In the distance ahead you can see the ruins of a castle.
A steam train that we had encountered and enjoyed in Swanage! It had also reminded us of Harry Potter and Hogwarts Express.

8 thoughts on “Harry Potter and my husband

  1. I used to think Outside and Pensive was the one book no one could put down one they started reading it. I guess Harry Potter has probably superseded it. I liked the earlier books better, though, before they got all dark.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed your post.

    I am remember a time when all three of us, husband daughter myself, were reading the first Harry Potter book. Whenever the reader had to put it down he/she would hide it(nonchalantly) and hope to pick it up before the others could get their hands on it!
    Another book we all enjoyed in a similar fashion was Roald Dahl’s The BFG. We simply wallowed in the magic of the prose!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this story, what an enjoyable post! I’m glad your husband has seen past his prejudice to enjoy reading books originally written for a younger audience. In my experience (extensive and professional!) the best children’s literature works for readers of any age. Talented children’s authors are often unfairly underrated simply because of the age-specific label attached to their works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for writing in, and for your lovely words. What you say is so true indeed; the best children’s literature works for readers of all ages. Recently I read and so enjoyed Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost” – it was an illustrated version aimed at children, but I was so engrossed, so happy reading it that I had to work on myself on giving it to the person it was meant for. (My friend’s little boy.) The story also spoke to me at several levels, and I am going to get a copy for myself.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Prerna Shah Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.