Nefarious Deliberations

Harry Potter and the Rise of the Millenials

Around 20 years ago, a single mother of terribly humble means created a magical world of witches and wizards, of broomsticks and invisibility cloak, of competitive quidditch matches and cutthroat games of magical chess, of mighty dragons and majestic hippogriff, of humble house elves and somber thestrals, soul-sucking dementors and dull trolls… Of love, friendship, loyalty, exceptional bravery and sacrifice. The book series that not only took the world of literature by storm but also helped several young souls like myself in finding themselves.
For those who are not familiar with the concept of the Harry Potter books (really only the people who have been living under a rock must not know of the Harry Potter franchise), Harry is an orphan who is thrust into the world of Witchcraft and Wizardry on his 11th Birthday when he receives the news, (in the form of thousands of letters from his soon to be school Hogwarts, delivered by hundreds of owls and one lovable half-giant) that not only is he a wizard (“Yer a wizard Harry!”) but also the most famous wizard in the World of Magic. For he was the “Boy who Lived”! The Harry Potter books take us on an adventure as Harry struggles to find his footing at Hogwarts and his new life while making friends who stand by him in the most arduous times, struggling with puberty while thwarting the advances of dementors, death-eaters and the most powerful dark wizard in history, Voldermort. Honestly, for me, dealing with teenage emotions and keeping up with academics were such harrowing tasks, that when you put a flat nosed 100 years old dark wizard and his pet anaconda in the mix, I don’t even know how I would have not lost my ever-loving mind!
I do know these are just books and fantastical stories (I am not a complete whacko! Only a slight bit whacko πŸ˜‰ ), but they do hold certain amounts of truth in them and a lot of distressed youngsters still make everlasting connections with them. These books told the story of those children who deal with loss on levels we cannot imagine. The ones who come from broken homes or who have lost their parents, the ones with learning disabilities and who have endured abuse, misfits who are awkward, who are bullied and are wary of making friends. It explores childhood depression and loss on profound levels. And it indubitably teaches of compassion and empathy. That’s why child psychologists have been known to prescribe these books to children who suffer from depression.
I still remember my first encounter with Harry Potter and subsequent foray into J. K. Rowling’s magical world. I was a shy introverted thirteen years old girl, desperately trying to fit in. I had body image and hypersensitivity issues, which at that time were still obscure psychological problems and were brushed aside as a quintessential part of “the hormonal teenage years” (I seriously had no idea about hypersensitivity until Agastya was diagnosed couple of years of ago). I used to be angry all the time, acting out and lashing out at mostly my family members, for not being understanding of my pain, which was non-existent to many. My obsession with written words started around this time and I got my hands on my first Harry Potter book, which was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I also started to write, initially as a class assignment, little tidbits from my day, emotionally charged teenage rants about how unfair the world is, poems professing my multiple crushes, pondering over secrets of stars and black hole, and the rainy season. But it was reading the Harry Potter books that would help me immensely, creating an escape when things got rough.
It was during one of my “troubled”/”rebellious” teenage years that we first heard of World AIDS day and week. Me and a couple of my friends decided to show our solidarity to the cause and wear the red ribbon in school. The whole day in class we got dirty looks from our teachers. AIDS was still considered to be a forbidden subject. And as with typical unruly teenagers, it spurred us on. By the end of the day, one of our teachers approached us in class and asked us (not very mildly, we were actually threatened with the wrath of the feared bamboo stick πŸ˜‰ ) to remove it. We did remove it (unwillingly) but our point was made. We wore the ribbon for a whole school day while enduring various degrees of glower from our educators. πŸ˜›
What I am trying to say is, teenage years are about that; rebellion, exploration, discovery and most importantly, thriving. According to me those are the years when we do most of our growing up. And when I was that old my biggest fear was scoring enough in my Malayalam exams to pass the 9th grade. But the times are changing and these days children everywhere are struggling for their most basic right: Right to Live.
Recently, while watching Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, which is based on the 5th book of the series, I realized how extremely relevant it is to the time we are living in. It was like an epiphany of epic proportions! In Order of Phoenix, Harry is being ostracized by the wizarding world for claiming that Voldermort is back. In short, he is being targeted for speaking the truth. Doesn’t this sound a bit familiar? The Ministry of Magic itself is behind the shunning propaganda that declares Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore (the headmaster of Hogwarts) as liars. So instead of waiting in the sidelines for Voldermort and his cronies (scary as hell death-eaters, who have cool snake tattoos) to attack him and Hogwarts, he does what any 15 year old child would not normally do; he creates an army of youngsters and prepares them for a potential war against Voldermort. (And by the 7th book we know how essential the training he imparted to his fellow wizards was.)
When I read the news these days, I cannot help but draw similarities between Harry Potter and his friends with the Parkland shooting survivors. The way these children have risen from an incredibly traumatizing experience and gathered support against gun violence in commendable. They are speaking out against an undeniable truth and their righteousness and perseverance blows my mind. Obviously, just like in the book, there is a section of society that claims that there is no problem at all. They are called the “owning guns, more guns and give me all the guns” people or the NRA. Their filth is so widespread and to such despicable levels that they even photo-shopped a picture of Emma Gonzalez, a high school senior and shooting survivor, and wrongfully accused her of tearing up the constitution of America. Seriously? She is a child fighting for her (and other children’s) right to live a healthy life and go to school without the fear of being gunned down by a random nutcase. Have some respect people! Then there are sections of News Media who call these “millennials” “snowflakes” with fleeting attention span, who come up with unnecessary campaigns and waste their times. Honestly, do they have any other option? We are leaving them with a planet struggling to hold up the weight of 9 billion people, fighting for dwindling resources, surrounded by war torn nations, failing economies and skyrocketing property prices. Basically, a very jeopardized future!
Currently, the American children have been successful in making people talk and think, about the difference between right and wrong. They have opened up a dialogue that is pushing their cause forward. Which is incredibly impressive and much more than what most of their leaders have been able to achieve. I can’t help but be hopeful that these extraordinary “snowflakes” will bring about a momentous avalanche of change. Who knows they might even succeed in saving lives of their fellow “millennials” in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan? As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see!” I was such a teenager once, desperate to bring about a change but not courageous enough to do anything substantial. Therefore, for me the future of our planet does lie in the innocent yet undaunted hands of these children and I want to help them in every possible way. So, I implore people to listen and learn from them, they have more pride and integrity than most of us. Let us not let hatred, fear and greed win. It’s the least that we can do!

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