The Unknown Battle

Walking with him out of the store, she felt grumpy. “Why was I the one who was chosen? Out of all those animals!”, she thought to herself wide-eyed. Harry looked at her excitedly, but she didn’t share the feeling. Harry Potter, the famous baby boy and all that jazz, was there, carrying her to be his companion. Anybody would have killed to be in her position right now.

But our dear old Hedwig was not just anybody.

When a giant man and a boy entered Eeylops Owl Emporium, which had been her home for almost 7 months now, she was eager. It was high time that she spread her wings and flew about. With the increasing onslaught of muggleborns bringing their technologies with them, the owls were finding it difficult to get sold to new owners. “E-mail”? for heaven’s sake! Will it match the happiness of getting your mail or package flown to you? People!” she huffed every day with her disgruntled kin. Until the boy with the lightening scar caught her eye. Oh no, anybody else, please! She had a terrible inhibition that this boy was Bad News. This inkling of hers would, of course, turn out to be spot on; 

Both Harry and Hedwig arrived at the King’s Cross Station, looking expectantly for the Hogwarts Express. Hedwig was the center of everyone’s attention, without a doubt; And she was, of course, used to having all eyes on her snowy white exterior.

Why is he running into the wall! Oh lord, stop! She hooted loudly. However, there was no crash like she though, and they were suddenly in a station- inside a station! Okay, now I’m excited.

Throughout the years she spent with Harry, she grew a love-hate relationship with him. He treated her as his friend and seemed to constantly forget she was still, just an owl. She couldn’t provide Harry the emotional support that he sometimes desperately yearned from her. And boy, did he yearn. She would constantly sit in the Owlery and tell the others, about the reality show that was “Harry Potter” and without fail every owl would think to themselves what a lucky owl she was. But, Hedwig? She was tired. She, honestly, just needed some person who would send occasional messages to their parents asking for new robes, or some Galleons to buy sweets and butterbeer from Hogsmeade. Harry’s life was a lot for poor old Hedwig. Her worst couple of months was when Harry was home in that nasty house of his muggles, and the elder male muggle did not let her leave her cage. She was stuck in that small room with Harry. They soon got pretty tired of each other, with her constant hooting and his constant sulking. She often wondered, if he were an owl, they would most definitely be friends. Unfortunate for him, he was born human.

That, however, did not mean she hated Harry; Because of him, at least she was the star of the Owlery every night. That poor kid really needed some love in his life. She was grateful for that Weasley boy. He kept Harry sane, even in his darkest times. Her favorite, though, was Hermy. She was so precious and loved her as much as Harry did. And her cat! Hedwig loved Crooks. He was so cute and incredibly smart for a cat. But she hadn’t heard of an owl and a cat being friends. And she wasn’t bothered enough to be the pioneer for that. So, she ended up befriending Pig. When that awful rat of the Weasley kid was gotten rid of on account of it being a man waiting to kill Harry (Why does he always end up being around the worst possible human beings and make everything so dramatic?) he got another Owl. Hedwig did not fully understand that friendship because Pigwidgeon was always so pigwidgeon. But it was fun talking to someone else, outside of that stuffy Owlery.

The one good thing the rat-human-pet scenario brought into Harry’s and in turn, Hedwig’s life was Sirius. She loved delivering letters to Sirius. He was always so kind to her and as little as he had, he made sure she got treats whenever she flew over there with Harry’s letters to him. She was also secretly glad Harry finally found a father figure he desperately needed and deserved. Also flying that stretch was something she absolutely loved, because of the strong cool breeze coursing through her feathers, while she breathes in her long awaited freedom.

Being part of Harry’s life was almost always exhausting. Every year, he went back to Hogwarts, he was thrown into a dangerous situation. The Boy Who Lived, they called him; Only she knew, somedays he was not living. He was just surviving. He came about the owlery, took her out and sat with her in the grounds, and talked to her. What does he expect me to do about this? Was the only thought running in her head. Nevertheless, she was always happy during those afternoons, because that meant she could be out and about. Listening to the Chosen One’s dramatic life was a small price to pay. Sure, Hedwig would have been happier elsewhere, with any other wizard leading a normal life; however deep down she knew that it was not a coincidence or a series of unfortunate events that led up to this. Hedwig always believed that she was destined to be found by the boy with the lightening scar, that day, in Diagon Alley. As adventurous as Harry’s life was to plain old Hedwig, she knew he needed her there more than she ever needed him.

She did not understand why everyone assumed that the worst person in Harry’s life was Lord Voldmort (just like her owner, she was not afraid to say his name. She hooted his name all the time. Little did they know.) Did they all just forget Umbridge? The monster in pink. She once got hold of Hedwig, while she was returning after meeting “Snuffles”, with a message from him. She tried to fight her off from taking the message attached to her. Lady, it is not for you! Let me go! However, Umbridge read the message and almost caught Sirius talking to Harry. That was the first time she felt as though she failed in her duties as an Owl. I had one job. And I could not even do that properly. She spent a whole week sulking.

Harry’s last year in Hogwarts was coming up and she knew somehow that they wouldn’t end up going back to Hogwarts. She was preparing herself for dark nights and long flights ahead.

One night, she looked over at 17-year-old Harry, he sure is not the same innocent boy that walked into the emporium. Life has gotten hold of him and shaken him up pretty rough. Is this pity I’m feeling? Or worse, love? Hedwig’s inklings are usually always right, and that fateful night, she felt it necessary to show some love for her owner before taking off. Does he need it, or do I? The flaws of being a snowy white owl always affected her, because it meant always being on the lookout and this time too, Harry thought it was too dangerous to let her fly alongside him and placed her in the cage and held the cage tightly.

Bad Idea.

She didn’t see the green flash coming her way, but suddenly-

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The yellow sheets.

They came out of the dryer, fresh- like my memories of it. 

These sheets were what I saw everyday (alternating with the blue ones) for almost 25 days. They saw me crying out of loneliness, frustration, sadness. They’ve seen droppings of pizza crust. They’ve seen the sweat while sleeping, because it was bloody hot. Most importantly, they’ve seen me change as a person in just 25 days. 

It’s still hard to believe. When I walked in the first day with amma, to the 2BHK apartment, all i could think was “oh lord there are more rooms here than the people living here!” 

I, who spent 17 years sheltered under the protective wings of my parents, was suddenly left, to fly alone. The unexpected freedom was… strange. “How do I not spend through all of my cash in the first week?”  I didn’t have any control! What was my parents doing leaving me alone in a new city! 

Studies took up most of my time there; because I didn’t have a TV nor wifi. Funny story, I’d taken a postpaid connection and my bill for the FIRST WEEK was Rs 2000. Clearly, I had absolutely no clue about the pricing here. My dad quickly changed my sim to a pre-paid one. Good thinking, dad.

Spending all my life in a middle east country, taxes were something foreign. So when I bought my first coffee from CCD worth, Rs 80 and paid almost Rs 150 for it, I couldn’t believe it. I stuck to street food after that.

Everyone warned me about the Chennai heat. I thought it would be fine since I came from a desert like nation. What I failed to count in was, even though the summers in Bahrain were hot, I didn’t feel it much as there was Air Conditioning all around me. So the heat was pretty much unbearable. I resort to sleeping on the floor because it was the coolest. 

What i think about the most is that, I was alone in a new city; yet I spent most of my time in my flat, with my yellow sheet. It will hold the memories of the transition of a young, spoilt, introverted mama’s girl to a pretty strong, confident, girl who I’d say is an ambivert now. 

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4 weeks.

‘This place seems super cool! I hope I get in here.’ I exclaim as I reach the gates of my home for 5 years. Of course, I didn’t know then.

Fast forward 7 months. First day of college. I have the same excitement as I walk in. All new (confused) faces. Everyone put up their most sane and well behaved selves on display; So did I.

Then it began. “The Saga of Anagha trying to be like others, so that she would fit in.” I cursed my usual introvert self, and tried hard. Topics I had no clue about, became my favorite ones. The need to impress people grew everyday. The narcissist in me who thrived on the attention, suddenly didn’t get any and was, I quote, “depressed.”

The weekend arrived and took me home.

The following Monday, I was a changed person. “I tried. I can’t anymore.” I thought, if I didn’t try people around would magically want to talk to me. Playing hard-to-get with around 120 people of my batch. As I walked over to my academic block, the building that once astounded me, now seemed like a magic trick you knew the secrets to.

I took solace in the library. I assumed, if I spent most of my time there, I wouldn’t need to talk to anyone and also, I would score good grades. Flawless plan.
But , my library turned out to be a place that would hear my whining and complaints about my college life, to my ‘real friends’ – states away.
Library: where I grew closer to people across countries, than the girl in the bed beside me.

The weekend knocked on my door and I ran home.

The following monday, I was a changed person, once again. I broke away from my cell(phone) and started conversations. The only difference was, this time, it was the real Anagha and not the Cool girl Anagha. (Although, the real Anagha was pretty cool too, thank you very much.) Steering the conversations into my forté, I thought to myself ‘ I could survive here afterall.
The real Anagha impressed people, without even trying.

The weekend had to pull me home this time.

The following monday, everyone was a changed person. The obligatory smiles had turned into warm ‘Good morning!‘s ‘
I did it! I cracked the code to happiness! The secret was to be myself. ‘Not really a secret is it?’

And at the end of the rollercoaster ride that was ‘The first month of college’ , when the last weekend was waiting at the gate, I heard it;

‘Hey, will you stay here for the weekend?’

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