Magic in the New Year

We decided to start the New Year with some magic, and so we booked the Making of Harry Potter tour by Warner Bros Studio, London on New Year’s Day.

We drove to Watford on New Year’s Eve and stayed in a hotel near the Bhaktivedanta Manor (ISKCON temple). We visited the temple that evening (given it was safe to do so on New Year’s Eve than on a New Year’s Day). Given that it was at least 20 mins away from the Watford Town Center, it was quiet and apart from some fireworks we had a relatively calm and quiet end of the year 2021. On New Year’s Day, we went to the Town Center (parked at Atria Shopping Center) and roamed the almost empty high street for a while. Found a place called “Crispy Dosa” where we had our lunch. They had very good south Indian food. I loved my Chettinad Dosa.

After that, it was a 15 min drive to the studio. Mr M was getting on my nerves as he was very leisure and wanted to arrive at the studio only a few minutes before the start of the tour. I wasn’t so sure but given the new year and the new me thing going on in my head, I decided to give him the benefit of doubt and tried to do my calm breathing exercises (it worked!!!) We were spot on time and the tour began as soon as the majority of the folks had arrived. Didn’t realize that there would be that many people in there and this was reduced count. I wonder how many normal attend the tour in a non-pandemic situation.

They warned us that the tour takes around 3 hours and there would be a cafe halfway through for us to sit and have some rest and refreshments if we wish to do so. The entrance was well done, with interactive screens and people talking etc. From there you go on to a small theatre room where they show the video of what the place is about and then the screens go up and you see “The Great Hall” and that is the actual entrance of your self guided tour. The lady who was explaining the stuff in the Great Hall was too fast and too loud. She could have done it a little better, but I zoned her out and was on my own exploring stuff.

There is so much to see and experience and enjoy. This tour also shows how much goes on in the background for something that comes up in the movie for a mere 2 seconds. I have always appreciated the effort by the artists who work behind the scenes to bring something which might closely resemble the imagination of an author or a fan. It is not easy and sometimes it fails, but when it clicks and succeeds you get something like Harry Potter which becomes a huge sensation. The detailed sketches on the architecture of the buildings that were built, the makeup, the costumes, the food that is shown on the tables, the automotive used, the amount of mechanical and electronic wizardry involved in all these things is amazing. It was so much fun.

One of the highlights of the whole tour for us was the awe-inspiring Gringotts Bank and the way the dragon demolishes the bank. It was amazing. The Diagon Alley was another one of those places which I loved ūüôā and when we were ooh-ing and aah-ing over these things we come to the halfway point and then we have to go out for a bit to find the Knight’s bus and Potter’s Place in Godric’s Hollow, the Privet Drive and the Hogwart’s Bridge all sprinkled with some snow. Such fun! ūüôā The Goblins was one more thing that surprised me. How much work has gone into their makeup and I didn’t know that Warwick Davies played two Goblins apart from being Professor Flitwick. Interesting. Since we didn’t take a break at all and didn’t linger too much on the things which are more catered to be more interactive with kids (where kids could practice their spells for the battle, or do the Yule Ball steps, etc. etc.) we kind of completed the tour in about 2 hours and 15 mins or so. But by the time we browsed the shop towards the end and bought a souvenir and came out to the Food Hall our legs couldn’t hold us up.

If you like Harry Potter this is a definite must-see place. Makes you appreciate the effort that has gone into the movie more and also the effect of a series on a whole generation (or two). I am glad that I belong to the generation of Harry Potters (not necessary grew up on it, but was there to see it grow into a phenomenon). Also, it would be wise to stay after the trip (unlike us who had to drive all the way back to Swansea afterwards) as the tour can be tiring. And they have a food place (apart from a Starbucks and a Frog’s cafe which sells amazing milkshakes) inside the studio which we weren’t aware of. If we had known then we might not have stopped off at Watford (and then I might have missed my dosa!!!).

I am glad we started this year with this tour. I truly enjoyed it. Here are a few photographs from the tour.

My house(s)

I had registered with Pottermore a couple of years back. But I forgot my password to login. When I tried to use the ‘Forgot the password’ option, they informed that I wont be able to retrieve it since the site had changed after I had registered. Of course it has. But thankfully when I reregistered it I was able to use my username and associate my house to my account. And I also figured out my Ilvermorny House and more about my wand too. Here is what Pottermore told me about my houses and my wand. Which house(s) do you belong to?

house1house2wand

A,B,C…here is something about me.

After Ger posted his A to Z about himself (which is a very nice and funny read), I was wondering if I could do it. Well, here is my try.

  • A – Artistic.¬†A little bit actually. Have you seen my drawing of Mickey Mouse ?
  • B – Bookish.¬†During my under and post graduation, if I am not in my class, people¬†could find me in the library. I even knew which book was in which section. I love the feel of the books and library was my sanctuary. Disclaimer: Being in love with books doesn’t make me¬†geeky or smart.
  • C – Curious. Never get me curious about anything. I go to extreme lengths to at least know what they are. Sometimes it is good, but most times its bad. That is how I happened to read Fifty Shades of Grey. [sigh]
  • D – Diary.¬†The first time I ever wrote one, I got caught and I had written something in it when I was upset with¬†my parents. The diary was confiscated and I got¬†an earful. After that the only reason I owned a few diaries were to write the lyrics of the songs I wanted to learn and to write poems and stories I read & liked, total non personal stuff.
  • E – Eldest. I am the eldest of the three and I am really happy about it, but sometimes¬†it makes me pull my hair out because I have to be the most responsible one in the family. That really sucks.
  • F – Flying.¬†I love flying, even though I am afraid of heights. When the rates were cheaper like 1000 Rs per ticket between my current place and my home town , I used to always travel by flights, used it like a bus service to the next stop.
  • G – Grand Canyon.¬†I freaking love this place. I did the helicopter ride there to do the boat ride and it was just awesome. But I made a huge scene when I had to do the sky walk thing. Totally freaked out. But would go back there any time. Any time at all.
  • H –¬†Hufflepuff.¬†This is the house Pottermore’s sorting hat put me in ūüė¶ I so wanted to be part of Gryffindor. It goes without saying I am a Huge Harry Potter fan.
  • I –¬†Icecreams.¬†I love them but can’t have them enough because of my allergies. But I do sneak in from time to time. Especially a butterscotch or vanilla with the chocolate sauce and some choco chips, almonds & tutti frutti sprinkled on it and some ¬†honey dripping on top. And nope, I never share ice creams or chocolates. If I ever do, beware of my intentions ūüėČ
  • J – Jeeno.¬†The name of our¬†dog who is no more. He was named after a robot dog from a Tamil novel ‘En Iniya Iyandira‘ (meaning- My Dear Machine) I loved him to pieces and after him swore off pets because I cannot handle the heart ache of losing them.
  • K – Klutz.¬†¬†If you have followed my injuries over the past year, you would know that I am a total klutz. I broke the¬†pinky finger of my leg¬†in the sofa while trying to get up from it.
  • L – Long Island Ice Tea.¬†One of my favorite cocktail drinks. My friends always make sure they¬†share mine because if I am buzzed, I get awfully quiet and calm and very boring and all Zen like (even though everyone thinks I am snoozing).
  • M – Mobbish. My driving is considered lawless and rash by general consensus (of friends). My family still has some hope left. So I don’t have a choice other than to accept it. But (touch wood) so far I haven’t had caused or been in any¬†accidents. Yet, no one gives me their new cars to drive ūüė¶
  • N – Noetic. I am attracted to people who have noetic sense, because I have none. Opposites attract right?
  • O – Oz.¬†A place that has been on my travel list along with Angkor Wat & ¬†Ireland for quite sometime, which I am yet to cover.
  • P – Photography.¬†Easiest and coolest way to hide from everyone: ¬†get behind the camera. I hate to stand for photographs but I love taking them.
  • Q – Quirky. I have too many quirks to my list. One thing to list here. I say Good morning to ‘Sun’ every day I go out in the morning. Its like a thing between me and Sun. I was a little upset today because I didn’t see him.
  • R – Romantic.¬†Recently my friends said that I am the most romantic person in our group (and not because of the romance books I read). Am yet to find out why they came to that conclusion.
  • S – Singer. I love singing and am a fairly good singer. Learnt classical for 6 months when I was very very young and left it. Classical is so not for me. But singing helped me in my stuttering a lot.
  • T – Tea.¬†My day doesn’t start at all until and unless I have had my morning cup of Tea. I won’t be grouchy but will not be too amicable either.
  • U – Upbeat. I am a very upbeat and positive person. Might be because of my blood group too (b+ve).
  • V – Vegetarian.Muy soy vegetariano, no carne, no pescado, no huevo” – This is something I have learnt to say in Spanish when I was in Mexico for a month and recently in Spain. And I have had people look at me as if I am a poor being to eat only the veggies. Only three words: Elephants are vegetarians.
  • W – Wonderment. I love to travel because it always makes me look at the world in wonder. Even the path we take daily, when we look closely gives you something to wonder every day.
  • X – Xenial. Especially to people who are new to my environment, be it my team or my family. As much as I feel shy to start a conversation, if I feel that the other person is new and needs a helping hand, my mode automatically switches.
  • Y – Yappy. My mother considers me a yappy person if I misplace something and am not able to find it. And sadly, mothers are always right, at least most of the times.
  • Z – Zumba.¬†I have been going to Zumba classes along with yoga for a few months now and since I like dancing , but am very shy about dancing before another person, Zumba gives me a way to do it camouflaged as workouts.

So, how did I do it? What do you think of me after reading this ? Can I use this in my About page or will it be too tacky?