Bookstores in the city were decorated with all Potter-related things
Chennai: The first Potter fan was outside Landmark bookstore at 3.30 a.m. for his copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, the final book in the series by J.K. Rowling.
Everywhere in the city bookstores opened at 6 a.m., an unheard-of phenomenon except when it is Potter time.
Dinshaw Batliwala, store manager, Landmark, Spencer Plaza, said about 1,000 people came at 6 a.m. to collect the book in person. And, they weren’t just children. Newly wed Vignesh was up at 5 a.m. to buy a copy of Harry Potter for his wife, a Potter fan who couldn’t make it to the store as she was ill.
An orderly queue snaked across the first floor of Spencer Plaza where the bookstore is situated.
Mr. Batliwala was beaming with pride at his well-mannered lot, and said they had quite a party early in the morning while they waited for the embargo to end. “We gave them sandwiches, vadai, brownies… We even had a cake with ‘Long Live Harry Potter’ written across it,” he said.
At Higginbothams, an amused M. Hemalatha, Senior Customer Relations Manager, recounted how one harried father called her late on July 20.
“He asked me to speak to his son, who insisted on camping outside our store from midnight to ensure that he got a copy of the ‘Deathly Hallows’. I had to give him my cell number and promise him I’d keep his copy safe. He actually called at 5.30 a.m. to check if the books were sold out.”
Another mother had a frantic moment after she lost her little girl in the store. “She was calling out her name and searching everywhere. We finally found her curled in a corner, ten pages into the book,” laughed Ms. Hemalatha. “I’ve never come across anything like this before.”
Hive of entertainment
At Crossword bookshop in T. Nagar it was a veritable hive of entertainment, from 6.30 a.m. There were magic shows, corners for face painting and tattooing to entertain children and adults while they waited for their copies. “We have had this kind of stuff happening when we celebrated special days for children, but we’ve not done anything like this for any other launch,” said P. Rajasekhar, Store Manager.
Stores were decked with all things Harry Potter-related: from a miniature Hogwarts School that one could enter, cutouts of favourite Potter characters to pose for photos with, and paper brooms and owls suspended from the ceiling.
A crowd also hovered around tattoo artists who painted scars, brooms and owls onto eager little (and not-so-little) fans. The ‘Deathly Hallows’ book displays were at their creative best, occupying pride of place in all stores. Several people were spotted surreptitiously picking up copies and checking the last pages to find out how the series ends.