Dear Ms. Rowling

Can I just begin by saying “Thank you”? You have no idea how much I mean that.

You may have heard this many times over, but I had a difficult childhood. Without going into the details, let me just say that I was forced to grow up before my time and, hence, missed out on a lot of my childhood.

And then I found the Harry Potter books.

It’s been more than ten years now, but I still remember the day I bought the “Philosopher’s Stone”, the shop I bought it from, the strange feeling in my stomach as I held it in my hand, the sheer delight I felt while I devoured page after page and the utter conviction that I had found a new obsession after I had read the book three times in a row – without a pause.

The reason I’m thankful to you is that you gave me my childhood back. With your books and those wonderful, wonderful characters, I was able to be a kid again, grow up and do things I had missed on as a kid, with them. You helped me keep my head above the water during some dark times.

I’m eternally grateful –

  • For Harry – He showed what it means to be brave and do the right thing.
  • For Ron – He showed me what it means to be loyal, to be a good friend.
  • For Hermione – She showed me the importance of having a good heart and to care for the ones you love.
  • For Neville – He showed me that I didn’t have to be the best at everything to be the best me.
  • For Luna – She showed me that it was OK, really, to just be myself.
  • For Fred and George – They taught me to never take myself too seriously. Life is too short for that.
  • For Dumbledore – He showed me the importance of trust.
  • For Snape – He reinforced my belief in true love.

For you – You showed me the power of imagination and tripled my love for the written word.

I am putting this out there on the internet in the hopes that someday you’ll come across this and know that you are loved, admired and appreciated in every corner of the world, and how many lives your books have touched and changed.

I cannot wait to have kids so that I can introduce them to the magical universe of Harry Potter!

Thank you.
Proud Potterhead and member of Dumbledore’s Army.

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4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.

And so ends one of the greatest shows in television history.

For six years LOST had entertained us, frustrated us and shocked us consistently. And today it said its final goodbyes. So, did it live up to all our (or atleast, my) expectations? Hell, yes.

I watched the LOST finale live for once. I didn’t want to wait three hours after half the planet had done watching it and then watch a bad quality video of it. Not for the finale, no. It deserved better than that. So, after gulping down my breakfast and taking a very half-hearted shower ( :P), I plopped down in front of my laptop and waited for the ride to begin. And what a ride it was!

Without going into specifics of what happened in the finale – all during the episode, the “sideways” timeline and the “island” timeline were converging, with our favourite losties (Yay! Juliet’s back! :D) in the sideways timeline having flashes of their life on the island at certain significant moments (mostly helped by Desmond and Hurley)

I especially loved the Claire/Charlie and Sawyer/Juliet “reunions” (Totally teared up at those two scenes! :)). But the best part of the finale had to be the last five minutes of it.

All the losties meet in the church Jack’s dad’s funeral was supposed to be held, where everybody except Jack already remembers about their island life. Jack runs into his dad there and what follows next is what makes the show as good as it is and then some –

Christian Shephard: “Hello, kiddo.”

Jack : “Dad? But…you’re dead! How are you here?”

Christian: “How are YOU here?”

Jack (thinks about it) : “… I died, too.”

Christian: “Everybody dies, Jack. All the people in the church are dead, too. Some before you, some long after. This is a place you all made together so you could find one another. The most important time of your life was the time you spent with these people. And now, it’s time to move on.”

😀 I did not see that coming! At first, I didn’t quite like it (For five whole minutes I kept pulling at my hair and going “But…I don’t understand!”) but then after a while, it kinda grew on me. All these characters died but each had played an integral part in the others’ lives and had become so close, that they didn’t want to move on without anybody. So they “created” this place between Life and Death and waited till the last person was ready. These people had created a life for themselves in the “afterlife”, that they had always wanted. Sawyer and Sayid were good. Jack had a son and was a good father, Locke was with Helen and loved his father, Hurley was not cursed… Each and every one of them got to do something they had always wanted to but never got the chance.

After thinking about it, I cannot think of a better ending for this show. Sure, they left LOT of questions unanswered, but like Christian said, it’s the bigger picture that matters and besides, this way everything was left to our own interpretation, which is way more cool :).

In the end, the whole series was about these people, from start to finish. About how they arrived on the island, lost, not knowing who they are and what their purpose in life is, how their faith, belief and everything they stood for was tested time and again and how they found themselves in the end. That’s all. All the questions about the dharma intiative, the polar bears, the smoke monster, the light, the island itself – none of it mattered. The way these characters came together finally, how their stories were resolved was much, much more impressive than any mystery that left us hanging on the show. Now, we finally understand the reason behind the name of the show – it didn’t refer to their location, it referred to their souls. And THAT realisation just took my breath away.

The very last five minutes of show let us know that in the end, no matter who we are and what we do, the most important thing that can ever happen to us are the people we meet in our lives. It’s the relationships we make during our lifetime that defines who we are. Live together, die alone. They all lived together, and none of them died alone. Not in the end.

Kudos to the producers of this show for making LOST more than just a tv show. As someone said “Lost is not a TV show, It’s a way of living.”. After six years of dedicated viewing, LOST will be sorely missed. There will never be another show like it, but – “Remember. Let go. Move on.”

I’m going to leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the finale, something John Locke (hands down, my favourite!) says to Jack,

“I hope someone does for you, what you just did for me”

Here’s hoping something does for you what LOST did for me :).

She

She dreamt that she was floating. She was wearing her favourite dress and her sparkly blue shoes. Her eyes shone and her heart was filled with inexplicable joy. She looked around her and saw brilliantly coloured bubbles floating alongside her. All noise was oddly muffled as though she was underwater. She heard soft music and saw her music box in the distance, playing her favourite tune. She hummed along and giggled. As she looked, all her beloved books came flying at her and spun around her. She remembered each one of them. They were all her best friends.

“Get up and make yourself useful! Everyday we go through the same thing! You are going to make your old mother do all the work, while you still loll around in bed like a princess? Just tell me now, what good are you? Can you do atleast one thing right? Tell me, have you ever made anybody happy in your Life? I wish you had never been born. You have no friends, no job, no life. I pity you! You will never improve. Mark my words, you will suffer in your life. Just look at your younger sister. She’s a much better daughter to me than you ever were or will be. She’ll go places one day and you’ll sit and weep for not having listened to your mother. I wish I had died along with your father, then I wouldn’t have had to put up with the likes of you. I can’t wait for the day you get married and get out of this house. But who will marry you? You are so fat and ugly, I think I’ll be stuck with you for the rest of my life…”

Her mother’s voice cut through the air harshly, echoing out of the darkness. She covered her ears and tried to block it out and stop it from boring into her, stabbing her right in the heart. Tears filled her eyes and she bit her lip to stop herself from screaming out loud. She heard a sound behind her and snapped her head around. From the darkness, she saw something solid coming towards her. It had it’s arms stretched out as though inviting her for a hug. As it came closer, she saw it was smiling at her and, in fact, looked a lot like…

“Dad!” she screamed softly. An over-powering sense of peace and relief washed over her. She smiled and floated into his arms. She looked at his smiling face that had almost faded away from her memory in the past fifteen years and saw nothing but love and acceptance there. She sighed deeply and held him tighter.

Those sleeping pills had worked after all.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Enough cannot be said about this book! This has to be, hands down, one of my favourites ever!

                               DON’T PANIC!

The story begins one murky, thursday afternoon when Arthur Dent finds out that his house is being demolished to make way for a new bypass. As he is lying down in the mud in front of the bulldozers (protesting that he was not made aware of this until yesterday when he went down to the planning office, where the plans were on display “in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard”), his friend Ford Prefect drops by and tells him that he (Ford) is not exactly from this planet and warns Arthur that the world will be ending soon and he’d be wise to leave with Ford right away. Oh, and also bring his towel with him.

Arthur eventually finds out that Ford comes from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelguese and had come down to Earth about fifteen years ago to do some research about the planet for the most comphrehensive encyclopedia in the galaxy – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which has the friendly words “Don’t Panic!” in bold on the cover) and got stuck here. He and Arthur then hitch a lift on a Vogon spaceship (seconds before the Vogons obliterate Earth) where they are promptly discovered and treated to a reading of Vogon poetry (the third worst kind of poetry in the universe, which, at one point, literally caused internal hemorrhaging in four people and the fifth survived by gnawing one of his own legs off).

Elsewhere in the universe, Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed President of the Galaxy and Ford’s semi-cousin, steals the “Heart of Gold”, a ship powered by an infinite improbabilty drive, along with his friend Trillian and a clinically-depressed robot named Marvin (the Paranoid Android) and goes in search of the legendary planet Magrathea, which makes customised planets for people with a whole lot of money. On their way they pick up Arthur and Ford (after they’ve been kicked out of the Vogon ship) and eventually land on Magrathea where they run into a man named Slartiblartfast, who is an expert on creating coastlines when it comes to designing planets.

From him, they learn a shocking secret about the planet Earth and also, surprisingly, mice. A sudden turn of events sees Arthur (and the others) on the run, while trying to avoid his brain being bought and dissected by certain beings intent on finding out the ultimate answer to “Life, the Universe and Everything”.

Do they escape? Does Arthur get to keep his brain? What secrets are Zaphod’s two heads hiding? Why is Marvin so depressed? What is the answer to “Life, the Universe and Everything”? Wait, what is the question to “Life, the Universe and Everything”? How ever do the mice fit into all of this?

The entire book is a laugh riot from start to finish. For a story that seems to have been made up as it went along, Adams has nailed it! This is one book that keeps you bursting out in laughter randomly, long after you are done reading it. This is the first in a series. Following this are – “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”, “Life, the Universe and Everything”, “So Long And Thanks for All the Fish” and “Mostly Harmless” (The first three in the series are very good but the last two just didn’t cut it for me)

Marvin the robot (quite possibly my favourite character in the entire series) is depressing to the point of being funny. Here are some of his quips –

Marvin: “I am at a rough estimate thirty billion times more intelligent than you. Let me give you an example. Think of a number, any number.”
Zem: “Er, five.”
Marvin: “Wrong. You see?”

“My capacity for happiness,” Marvin added, “you could fit into a matchbox without taking out the matches first”

“I think you ought to know I’m feeling very depressed.”

“I got very bored and depressed, so I went and plugged myself in to the ship’s external computer feed. I talked to the computer at great length and explained my view of the Universe to it,” said Marvin.
“And what happened?” pressed Ford.
“It committed suicide,” said Marvin

“Life,” said Marvin dolefully, “loathe it or ignore it, you can’t like it.”

The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy – Must have, must read. Don’t read it at you own peril!