Ahead of July 31, which marks author JK Rowling and Harry Potter’s birthday, fans of the franchise share their eccentric theories supposing the series is set in the Maximum City
Mumbaikars’ cruciatus curse
Jayadev Calamur, 39, communications professional
I CAN think of wizards taking over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and fixing the pothole issue without the help of contractors. Mithi River will never be clogged, and with a functional aerial car shed, Aarey will be safe.
Let’s imagine this: Arun Weasley [who we have known as Arthur Weasley] has just acquired a bewitched Maruti 800. He clears the charm, but wants to tinker with the car to understand the secret to why muggles like automobiles. He does everything needed, but unlike the original series, he doesn’t use a
Meanwhile, Arun’s sons — Ron, Fred and George — are worried that Harry hasn’t been writing to them for three weeks, despite them sending several pigeons [pigeons over owls in Mumbai because too many owls will draw suspicion]. They drive the Maruti from Kalyan to Andheri where Harry lives. But Arun accosts them and says since the flying thing needs to be fixed, he will drive them.
Not aware of the traffic situation, the four leave by 9 am. After the initial smooth drive, they enter Majiwada junction in Thane at 10 am. But by 11 am, at Mulund Check Naka, they get stuck for two hours as Eastern Express Highway traffic moves at a snail’s pace up to Kanjurmarg. Arun takes out a bewitched mobile phone to open maps, which reveals heavy traffic. ‘So muggles have their version of the cruciatus curse — it’s Mumbai’s traffic,’ he relates.
Safe havens for the soul
Ushnish Das, 28, instructional designer
Remember that time when Harry and Dumbledore visited the sea cave to retrieve the horcrux at the end of the Half-Blood Prince? I feel Elephanta Caves can hide horcruxes well; it gives off that vibe. Wizards using a waterway on a boat, especially during monsoons, works well as a subplot in Mumbai. Anyone who has visited the cave temples in the rains would know how dark and grim it gets. Maybe a part of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus can be turned into Gringotts Wizarding Bank. The grandeur of that place and its awe-inspiring interiors seem like a perfect setting for the secret elaborate planning that Harry, Hermione and Ron had to undertake to steal one of Lord Voldemort’s horcruxes.
An unusual rat race
Senjuti Das, 28, video designer
Had the fantasy novels been based in Mumbai, there would be a rapid increase in the number of brooms. With members of the ministry of magic using brooms to travel, there would be less traffic on the roads. What a brilliant solution to our relentless traffic woes! In case of potholes, all we would have to say is, ‘fixus repairum’. The roads would smoothen up instantly. Plus, air pollution will be in check.
I think the Indian Institute of Technology in Powai would be our very own Hogwarts. To enter the school of wizardry, aspirants would be required to crack its magical entrance tests. And there would also be coaching institutions all over the country preparing muggles for the test [Kota days are over, move on]. There can be reservations for squibs and muggle-borns for fairer assessment.
Lastly, since the series is fiercely political, Voldemort would be a fascist politician and Hermione, a caste activist on campus. Voldemort might form an alliance with Dolores Umbridge leading them to find an interim magic ministry, which falls mid-term because of their mutual differences. Cornelius Fudge would have the deciding vote on that, too.