I decide to walk into my special room, the one I’ve been carefully crafting for a very long time now. It’s a small rectangular place but with a significantly high ceiling. It’s also very dimly lit – the oculus on the roof the only inlet for light to pass in.
The room itself is austere, there’s absolutely no furniture save for a small wooden chair to one corner ( I love to sit here when I’m thinking!). A music player adorns the other side of the wall. It’s a 7.1 system with speakers arranged across the room in acoustic precision. A small bookshelf rests next to the wooden chair. It contains all the books that have ever come close to my heart, the ones I wouldn’t mind reading again and again.
That’s pretty much it. What’s so special about this room that I had to craft so carefully, you ask? What I crafted here are not things or decorations. They’re memories, they’re thoughts, they’re hopes and of course, my dreams! See I didn’t even tell you about the windows!
The room is perfect, it’s just what I need. Soothing. Stimulating. Relaxing.
The windows, though. The windows are what make this room so special. There are many windows, each tightly shut and each having an inscription on top that says what the window means to me. You see, these are the windows that I have been building all through my life. Each window opens to a different place, a different memory – some real, some imaginary.
Today I have decided to open two of these windows.
I walk to the west wall and reach out for a Window that has ‘NOSTALGIA’ written on top. As I open the window, a whiff of earthy smell hits me. The kind you get when it rains. I see the little house that I use to live in with my parents when I was a kid. It seems to have just rained. The road is filled with puddles of water and little streams have started to flow alongside. The door of the house opens and a scrawny boy walks out with an umbrella in hand. A little girl follows him too, frantically trying to get under the big black umbrella. They both just stand there for a while and stare into the courtyard. The door opens again, and this time a much bigger boy comes out with a notebook in hand.
“Paper-boats!” he yells joyously. I see the three little kids making paper boats and setting them in the streams for the next ten minutes and give a deep sigh in contentment. We have forgotten the art of savoring little things as adults, I say to myself. But at least, this memory would always stick with me. That smell too. I have smelled rain in many places after that but somehow that childhood memory of the smell is something that’s still vivid and still feels very tangible. A cool breeze hits my face. I don’t want to close this window but it’s time I moved on to the next.
This time, the window I reach out for is far to the north and reads “WISH”.
I know what lays ahead. An it never stops to bring a smile to my face. I see a big lake surrounded by trees. A mountain ascends at the edge of the lake. A huge castle perched on top. Leaving Hogwarts by John Williams starts to play from the music player. I realize that even though I’ve never set foot in this place, neither can I ever will, this is where I have spent most of my childhood. Hogwarts has really been the home away from home. I lost count of the times I imagined myself walking in those hallways, running to classes, navigating those moving staircases, relaxing in the common room, visiting the gamekeeper in his hut and of course, taking a stroll in the forest! If I could swoosh through reality, if God gave me one out-of-this-world boon, I’d ask him to make Hogwarts real. Because that is where I have inadvertently learnt most of my life lessons as a kid, and because Hogwarts is also where I started my literary journey. Everything that happened later, all the other worlds I have been to through the books I have read wouldn’t have happened in the first place without it.
I see candle lights emanating from the Great Hall. They’re having their year-end feast. I hope Ravenclaw wins!
I reluctantly shut the window. The room is dark once again. Music is still playing. I love this score by John Williams. I pick up a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, sit in the wooden chair and start to read.