It’s that time of the year again. Just as the monsoons signal a return to a regular school year, until 2007, they also meant a return to Hogwarts. I was, however, late to board the Hogwarts Express. When the first book came out, some of my closest friends were the same age as Harry—11. I was younger, and oblivious to its fantastic world of goblins, owls and a train platform that you needed to walk through a wall to find, never mind that I was a klutzy kid that walked into walls often. But looking back, Rowling’s books seem to have always found their way into my life just when I needed them the most.

The first of the books I read was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth of the series, after a particularly tough conversation with my parents about moving cities (which meant shifting school and leaving friends—the world as I knew it was going to end). As I read on, I stumbled into a magical boarding school where to win a coveted tournament, students needed to answer riddles and fight dragons. And there was a formal Christmas ball! I was hooked. In Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna, I’d found a group of friends I could carry with me in my schoolbag. I was no longer scared to take on the world.

The last time I read a Harry Potter book for the first time was the monsoon that followed the gruelling few months of my Class 10 board exams. I spent that school break with a broken foot, but as the release day for the seventh and last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, came closer, the sullenness of the past few months miraculously disappeared. Hopping with the help of my crutches and a cousin I could bully, I promptly presented myself at the neighbourhood bookstore where I’d pre-ordered my copy.

Ask anyone who’s grown up reading the books, and the anecdotes will be endless. Between graduating school, learning and then unlearning college in order to handle a job, our growing up years often become a blur. But what we do remember is that through it all, it was these books that we turned to in our darkest hours, on gloomy Sunday afternoons, on a long train journey, to keep us in thrall. If we caught on with the Y2K internet boom, it was because we used those dial-up modems to find answers to what/who the ominous R.A.B was, to make elaborate plans for the next most popular Harry Potter fan fiction, and find simple DIY recipes for Dumbledore’s favourite jam (it’s raspberry, just in case you Muggles didn’t know).

Yes, we all know that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child isn’t strictly a ‘book’ like the ones before. It’s a script for the musical that opens at London’s Palace Theatre on 30 July. Yes, we also get that J. K. Rowling didn’t write this play on her own either. But no amount of adult pragmatism could save us from the buzz that the production pictures from the musical have created: Albus (Harry’s son) and Scorpius (Draco Malfoy’s son) are friends? And just look at the fantastic set!

So here we are, doing what we’ve always done best: we lay in wait for that hallowed monsoon day. And when it arrives, we will be at a neighbourhood bookstore wanting to believe, yet again, that a simple book release can be a life-changing experience. That a few hundred-odd pages can fire up our imagination in unimaginable ways, teaching us with its layered narrative about friendship, family, and the strong belief in the power of good over evil, of love over hate.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne (Little Brown, 352 pages, 899) will be available at bookstores from 31 July.

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