Two years ago on Christmas eve, I, along with my partner Sharan, had organised a Harry Potter Yule Ball and pub quiz at Bandstand—a pub in Delhi—as a part of a larger series of Harry Potter events we were doing. The quiz was completely sold out, and we weren’t entertaining any additional requests. Mohit, an engineer working with the central government, ended up winning the quiz. That evening, he also ended up having a brief conversation with Mahathi, a girl he met there. The euphoria of the win led him to chase her as she was leaving, and bag her phone number in what would turn out to be life-changing move for the both of them. Because fast forward two years, and they are now getting married. This is not fan-fiction—we are invited to the wedding.
“(We met) in the second round of the quiz,” Mohit tells us about the moment they started chatting. “I was stuck on this: Who said the line ‘It unscrews the other way’? A girl standing next to me, looking beautiful in a red dress, asked me if I needed some help on it. She didn’t give me the answer but merely hinted that it was is in book five—and bang, I remembered!”
Life is a series of hits and misses. Almost all of us can identify the moments in our lives that changed it forever, even if it didn’t seem so at that point. And there is some order by which it all works, some way in which we are constantly crafting our own destinies. As a writer, I am part of various writing and reading groups in Delhi. I’ve organised several fandom quizzes across multiple cities, and my job in a publishing house involves communicating with readers and writers on a daily basis. Yet I’ve hardly ever met two Harry Potter fans who do not get along (except when they are competing in quizzes).
This is also how fandoms work, and the effect they leave long after the story has ended. Appreciating the same thing—in this case, the Harry Potter universe—means abiding by the values on which that world was built. If two people like Harry Potter with this intensity, you can almost be certain that they both stand by the values of compassion, tolerance, and love that the Harry Potter series subscribes to. “Our brains function on the same frequency—we resonate with each other and I believe that’s important for a couple,” says Mohit. “Being with someone who thinks the same way as you do means you don’t have to change the way you are and compromise,” Mahathi adds.
That doesn’t mean you have to be the same person. Mohit is from Ajmer, born a baniya, while Mahathi is a Telegu Brahmin, raised in Chennai. “In my home, we eat rice once a week, and for Mahathi, it’s a daily staple. Idli is considered a delicacy for us, and she says they cook idli when someone is sick,” says Mohit. In a country notorious for its social divisions along the lines of caste, creed, community and religion, as well as the gravity attached to endogamy, this might be bigger than it sounds. Our society is still driven by arranged marriages based within endogamous groups, whether that be the same caste, religion, or community. Mohit and Mahathi’s wedding is therefore more than just two Harry Potter freaks getting together.
They connect over their love for food and books; he proposed to her at a Game of Thrones quiz; and then they had a Harry Potter-themed engagement complete with the Marauder’s Map display, a Harry Potter cake, and Harry Potter candies.
When the Harry Potter 20th anniversary editions were released, they both ordered all the four house books; just last week they had an intense discussion on the Dumbledore family tree; and have watched all the movies together. They respect each other's individuality, but also end up agreeing on most stuff. “We walk into a restaurant and end up ordering the same thing on the menu,” Mohit says. “If it wasn’t for Harry Potter and you, we would never have met. That one crazy event brought us together. It opened up a connection that still amazes us. I wouldn’t even have spoken to her if I had remembered the answer to that question. It was as if destiny was in love with the two of us that night and wanted me to meet the girl in the red dress.”
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