Now, I’m an old Potterhead. As I may or may not have told innumerable people when I’ve been the slightest bit tipsy, back in 6th grade I literally changed the subjects in my school timetable to Harry Potter subjects, wrote Tom Riddle fanfiction and constructed my time around whether I had enough time to daydream about being at Hogwarts or not. I’ve written earlier about Harry Potter on this very blog. I’ve even covered a Potter-themed event for Kolkata Comic Carnival.
So how in the name of Merlin’s most colourful boxers could I not have written about the topic I’ve already expounded on in the heading of this post?
Having given careful thought to the matter over several shots of vodka, here’s a list of 5 things that would probably absolutely happen in the story, were it to take place in Kolkata:
There would be no Hogwarts Castle. There would be some sort of a North Kolkata “bonedi bari” instead.
This one was a no brainer. Who needs to build a freaking great castle in the mountains somewhere when you have several baris straight out of Bhooter Bhabishyot to house all of Kolkata’s young witches, wizards and every creature otherwise? Anyway, with all the landslides that keep taking place around North Bengal in the monsoon, it would probably be a terrible idea. Besides, what better place to hide the random accidents and chaos of several hundred young people cooped up together than in the ‘golis’ and alleyways of good ol’ noisy North Kolkata? #SortingAtShyambazarForever.
We would, at some point, see Harry trying to run in a kacha-khola dhuti and as a result faceplanting on the floor.
For the non-Bongs, that translates to dhotis adoringly falling about you legs like long-lost lovers trying to stop you from leaving. So we know that wizards like to stick to the old ways of a couple of hundred years ago, at least in terms of dressing, electricity etc, right? Which means that the uniform of Kolkata’s Hogwarts would quite certainly be dhotis and panjabis (the item of clothing, not the community). And who better than an eleven-year-old glasses-wearing n00b to faceplant every five seconds while trying to walk in something he learnt to wear three hours ago? Hell, I’d probably do it too, what with my co-ordination issues and all, if I wasn’t so comfortable in saris. (LOL).
Harry would TOTALLY be trying to catch questionable cricket balls on actual jharus.
Ever taken a second look at the humble jharus that lie under every middle-class Bengali bed, just chilling there, giving nobody any trouble, and making your room spic ‘n’ span for you to walk about comfortably in? No? Well, they’re about to snatch payback. Jharus, or jhyatas as we Bangalis lovingly refer to them as, would become not only the preferred mode of transportation but also the vehicles of locomotion for beloved wizarding game, Quidditch. Just imagine your old coconut-leaf jhadus bucking a dhoti-clad Seeker in mid-air, zooming after gully-cricket balls (which could be literally anything, from old tennis balls to not-so-old Gems packages) while the cricket-bat-swinging Beater smacks at footballs hurtling towards them in midair. Given the Bengali knack for recycling things (ever had your old shirts converted to ‘nyatas’ for wiping the floor?), this would definitely be a thing.
Literally every other person would be someone very much like Hermione.
Listen, I’ve been around the country, lived in practically every metro in India, visited a lot of other cities, got friends in still more and nowhere have I ever met a greater number of people who resemble Hermione so much in their “I’m-Such-A-Good-Student” attitude. I’m not saying that’s bad thing; I’m one of those people, or at least used to be back in 6th grade (easy to see why she was one of my favourite characters). We Bengalis take a lot of pride in our nerd-ness. I look at this trait with a lot of affection, being a former “Bhalo Meye”, and can confirm that I personally know at least 6 people who fit the bill (naming no names). Harry and Ron would have no problem knocking out trolls in this city.
Every villain Harry ever came up against would have been smashed to smithereens in record time.
And the reason behind this would be the vast amount of mishtis we like to devour every day. The pent-up energy from all that sugar has got to go somewhere, right? And they’d be cutting into our mishti-eating time. Mind you, I loathe mishtis, to the extent that people have threatened me about betraying my cultural/linguistic identity, so I’d probably be the only useless person in this scenario. But the rest of Kolkata, driven by justice, principle and rage at whatever has the audacity to come between us and our mishtis, would beat three-headed dogs (“Arey, Bholu! Eto boro hoye gechhey?!”), Dementors (“Ja beta kimbhut bidey ho!”), Dragons/ Sphinxes / giant spiders and Voldemort himself in a Bangali-second.
Harry with his Lokkhi Pyancha, probably.
Which is to say, in an hour. (We are slow movers. Believe it or not, this is the fault of the mishti too.)
What do you think would happen if Harry Potter was based in Kolkata? Let us know in the comments. Also, on the 30th of July, Kolkata Bloggers and Oxford Bookstore present to you the pre-launch events of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. From 11:00 am onwards, activities and prizes of all kinds await all those who come to meet the #ChosenOne!
Share this post with your friends if you like it, and see you around soon on C’est la vie!
To clarify, this is NOT an entry for the blogging contest. That would be really mean considering I knew those who organized it, namely, #KolkataBloggers and#OxfordBookstore. I’m not a mean person, guys. I’m nice. Okay.