A Dream Deferred: The Task... and the Hurdles
by Mayavanaviharini harini
"Aai, it's urgent. I need to talk. These visions…they are driving me mad!"
"I'm all ears. But finish eating your Pav bhaji first," commanded Narayani Patil sternly, stepping out of her kitchen. "Your visions will only worsen with your irregular eating habits."
Parvati didn't even attempt to argue with her mother. Clients and patients could be persuaded and convinced. Not mothers.
Narayani had been a rather strict parent, unlike her husband Vitthal, a former Slytherin student at Hogwarts. Yes, you read that right, but Auror Vitthal Patil was no Death Eater; he hated You-Know-Who. Despite being a witch AND a Pureblood, Narayani preferred to do things the Muggle way because she believed that using magic for daily chores was a wastage of magical energy. Magic, in her opinion, was a precious gift, not to be flaunted unnecessarily. She had ensured that the Patil twins were in no way distinguishable from the Muggle girls in the locality (much to the irritation of Vitthal Patil, who would secretly take the girls for Quidditch practice or an occasional visit to other wizarding families) until the Hogwarts letters arrived and the big feud started.
"Enough, Narayani. Our daughters need to realize that they are special…that they are different. I have told them all about my Hogwarts days..."
"Oh, yes, of course! So that they follow your footsteps…you egoistic Pureblood Western wizard!"
Blah blah blah…
"Do you think Aai is a Muggle?" Parvati would wonder.
"I don't really think so. Haven't you heard what she keeps yelling whenever Baba tries to make her understand? 'You egoistic Pureblood Western wizard.' Mind that. 'Western wizard'. Which suggests that she might be a witch, but not a 'Western' one," Padma reasoned.
The two sisters had learnt about their mother's magical talent much, much later. Not before she had volunteered to participate in the Battle of Hogwarts.
"I wish I had some more Sandhani left," she had sighed.
"Now what's that?" Parvati had never heard anything of this sort, though the name sounded surprisingly Indian.
"It's a magical herb that can heal bony injuries. Somewhat like your Skele-Gro Potion," explained Narayani.
"We had heard of Alternative Medicine, but now we have Alternative Magic too! Wow! Aai, you know of herbs we have never heard of. You will be a great asset to the army," gushed Padma.
Vitthal gave a knowing smile. "Your Aai was a topper at Mayavati, after all. It's the largest and the most ancient school of magic in India."
Parvati's jaw dropped open. "Aai, you never told us! You brought us up almost like Muggles!"
"Because Mayavi people need to learn not to take magic for granted."
Later on, Parvati was thankful about her upbringing, though. The terrible war had left her traumatized, and she had firmly decided to cut off all her connections with the wizarding world. She desperately needed a fresh life, a life that was not a constant reminder of Lavender's gruesome death. That was precisely why she had taken up a course in Clinical Psychology in a Muggle college, where nobody had the least clue about her magical abilities. She was now a successful clinical psychologist in Muggle London and even wrote for the Agony Aunt section in a leading Muggle magazine.
Her twin, on the other hand, proved herself to be quite a multi-tasker, using the Time-Turner to simultaneously attend the Healers' course AND Muggle medical school. It was her way of coping with the post-war stress-immersing herself in studies so that she had absolutely no time to think of anything else. At present she was undergoing specialization in Psychiatry.
Both the twins were empathetic listeners and keen observers, but were hopeless when it came to Legilimency and Occlumency skills (perhaps their emotional nature proved to be the biggest obstacle in mastering these skills). This had never created a difficulty in their careers, though, as they catered mostly to the needs of Muggle patients.
Their much intriguing Potions Professor, as it turned out, was alive and was suffering from severe depression. He had been discovered in a half-dead condition from Hogsmeade where he lay in a near-comatose state after consuming an overdose of Firewhisky. After intensive care at St Mungo's, he was clinically stable, and his suicidal tendencies had decreased. However, he still maintained that he should have died. He needs psychotherapy, Padma convinced her seniors. Interestingly, Padma had found no trace of the Dark Mark on his body ever since he had been admitted to the hospital, and that puzzled her. The only substance that can remove the Dark Mark is the Suvarnakarani. How on earth did he come across that? You learn about that herb only at Mayavati!
Nevertheless, she had discussed him with Parvati in great detail, who, after much coaxing, had agreed to take up the case.
It had been a difficult decision for Parvati. Unbeknownst to anyone (except Padma, of course, who read her like an open book), she had a serious, unrequited crush on Severus. She had been reasonably good in Potions, which meant she had never gotten a detention with him; but she hadn't been as good as Padma (which might have earned her an occasional curt nod). She had never talked about her crush, because her upbringing taught her that such feelings towards a teacher were scandalous. She had tried her best to mask her feelings by actively participating in every anti-Snape discussion in the Gryffindor common room (Snape-bashing was a fashionable thing to do). She had hoped that it was just a stupid teenage crush which would go away as soon as he was out of her sight.
Just like Severus was yet to get over his one and only infatuation. Lily Evans.
However, that wasn't the only thing bothering Parvati. Ever since she had heard about Snape's survival, she had been having these strange visions-an Indian-looking girl tying something around young Snape's wrist and dropping down dead instantly…Nagini making her final move…Voldemort's blood-curdling laugh…a glowing dial appearing around Snape's wrist…what on earth did these visions mean? Seriously, Parvati hated being a Seer.
She needed to talk to Aai. She would have all the answers. She always had.
A/N: 'Aai' and 'Baba' are the Marathi terms for mother and father respectively.
'Mayavi' is a Sanskrit word meaning magical.
'Pav bhaji' is a Marathi dish comprising hot buttered bread and a spicy preparation of assorted vegetables.
Mayavati is a beautiful place nestled in the lap of the Himalayas. The institute of magical education is my creation, though.
This story archived at: Occlumency