In the year 2000, grandfather got me my first Harry Potter book from a book fair in Calcutta. The city that once was the capital of India and is now called Kolkata. The city that once was our home.
I was just a pre-teen who had never heard of J.K Rowling, much less about how this was a third book in a series. Back then I was enamored with murder mysteries and preferred a ‘Nancy Drew’ over a new writer. Needless to say, I had no interest in Harry Potter. But my mother packed the book along with my other ‘yet to be read’ fiction books for my two month summer vacation to my paternal grandmother’s village. It region had no electricity, so books were my only escape from the sweltering heat.
Within a month, I had finished reading all my books and I have never been the sorts who would re-read things. Left with no choice, I finally picked up the Harry Potter. It took me a week to read just the first 50-60, because a lot of it was confusing and even boring. So I wouldn’t devour it like a maniac. But once I began to understand what was happening, it took me only 2 days to finish the rest.
And that’s how “Prisoner of Azkaban” became the first HP book I ever read. Till date, it remains my favourite in the series, not just because it opened doors to a new world, but it’s also the one where Sirius Black makes his first appearance.