Life’s a struggle when you’re a muggle.
As if we didn’t already know that, the last two years of being isolated amidst a raging pandemic has only served to drive home the point.
While the world seems to be finally opening up now, leaving us free to explore the newest cafes in town or plan those quick weekend getaways, the daily commute is once again turning into a nightmare. As offices reopen and kids gear up to return to their (painfully boring muggle) schools once more, overcrowded buses and packed metros seem to be making a slow and steady comeback.
And while the dictates of muggle life clearly state that one must be content with such mundane and unoriginal modes of travel, My Kolkata decided to whip up a handy guide to some magical modes of transportation that even Slytherins would approve of, and what kind of travel they would be best suited for...
Considering how every household in Kolkata has at least one form of ‘jhata’, if broomsticks could fly, then it would do little to solve the congestion problem at hand, because all the on-ground traffic would now simply be in-air, as everyone whips out their jhatas and zooms off to work!
To curtail this, we recommend that broomsticks, being so cheap, be made strictly student-only, and any office-goers spotted on one be immediately sent for an evening of detention with Dolores Umbridge.
The Knight Bus
If you are looking for a mode of travel that is both cheap and can compensate for your tendency to procrastinate, then the Knight Bus is your best bet. This is truly transportation for the masses, and has no bar on who can board it.
Added to that is the obvious benefit of it being firmly on-ground, making it ideal for those with airsickness. Overslept before a 10am meeting? Slept through your alarm and now on the brink of missing your exam? Late to a party? Just hop aboard the Knight Bus and let it whisk you away to your destination.
(P.S.: Don’t forget to hold on for dear life!)
The Flying Car
The iconic light blue Ford Anglia that could fly and turn invisible first appeared in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Ron and the Weasley twins rescued Harry from the Dursleys. And even though Molly Weasley might have her share of complaints against it, we deem Arthur Weasley a genius and believe that if he ever set up a car repair shop in the city, the Weasleys would never have to worry about money again.
We recommend that the technology (read: enchantment) of Flying Cars be extended to other vehicles as well and made available for all delivery personnel, so that our orders – be it from Zomato or Amazon or Myntra – are never stuck in road traffic again!
The Durmstrang Ship
Is it a ship? Is it a submarine? It is both!
The double-masted Durmstrang Ship could sail underwater or be steered above the surface. And while it was only used by the Durmstrangs to travel to Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, this ship might exactly be the upgrade that the city’s ferry system needs!
We recommend doing away with the classic ferries (or ‘launch’ if you will), and instead introducing Durmstrang Ships at all major ghats in the city. Not only is it faster, but it will also fit at least double the number of people on a ferry, all while looking stunning against the Kolkata skyscape (making it just the right fit for our Insta-aesthetics).
Carpooling would be so much more efficient (not to mention faster) with a Portkey, thanks to the sheer number of people it can transport at one go! For instance, the Portkey that Arthur Weasley used to get to the Quidditch World Cup, transported eight other people – Harry, Ron, Hermoine, Ginny, Fred, George, Cedric Diggory and his father Amos Diggory – apart from himself!
We recommend that all schools, colleges and workplaces set up a Portkey system of their own so that students and office-goers can carpool together and never be late again.
While the process of using Floo Powder might look suspiciously simple, if you’re familiar with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, you’ll know that pronunciation is of utmost importance while using the Floo Powder. It requires you to step into a fireplace, throw a handful of powder into the fire and state the name of the place you wish to go to. Owing to a lack of verbal autocorrect, in case of mispronunciation, you might end up in a completely different destination than the one you set out for — just like Harry did.
Notwithstanding the minor inconvenience of a (striking) lack of fireplaces in the city, we recommend that Hermoine Granger give lessons on English articulation to all Floo Powder aspirants, in order to prevent people from being ‘misplaced’.
You know how sometimes you really need to talk to your best friend? Be it crying about a recent break-up or ranting about annoying relatives or gushing about your newest crush, no one can understand you in that moment quite like your best friend can. Which is exactly why you should set up a pair of Vanishing Cabinets connecting your house to theirs. So the next time you really need to meet them, you can simply walk into yours and walk out of theirs.
For all those who have strict parents, a Vanishing Cabinet will ensure that you never have to miss an outing with friends again. For the best results, we recommend keeping the cabinet a complete secret from other family members!
The Beauxbaton Carriage
If the wizarding world had a limousine, it would most definitely be this ethereal light blue carriage, drawn by a dozen Abraxan horses which the Beauxbatons used to arrive at Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament. Considering the fact that it will be exorbitantly priced and require significant upkeep and maintenance, you will probably spot a Beauxbaton Carriage only in the posh areas of the city.
While we recommend admiring it from a distance, should you happen to have a friend who owns a Beauxbaton Carriage, this is your cue to take it for a round near the Victoria Memorial and give the other horse-drawn carriages there a serious case of jealousy.
One of the most complicated spells in Harry Potter, only fully trained witches and wizards are allowed to apparate from one place to another. Should this spell ever be extended to muggles for daily usage, we recommend that it only be reserved for pure-bred late comers who can never make it anywhere on time, and have the sloppiest of excuses for it.
In order to determine who fits the bill, all aspiring candidates will be tested along two primary metrics – their reasons for being late vs. their determination to not be late. Said candidates shall then be marked on a scale of 1 to 10. Only those scoring 8.5 and above shall be eligible for this coveted spell.
Now here’s something we would love to see on a hidden platform at Howrah Station! However, there is nothing ‘express’ about the Hogwarts Express, which ambles along at a speed of just 12km/hr — slower than the trams in Kolkata! However, in a city that prides itself on lyadh and leisure, the Hogwarts Express will not be much of a misfit.
We recommend that you book tickets for Hogwarts Express on those weekends when you feel like getting away. With its comfy coaches and slow pace, this would be the perfect slow ride around the city, tailor-made for snagging naps in between.
The best part? If you’re hungry, simply seek out the Honeydukes Express food trolley and buy yourself another chocolate frog!