Indian Harry Potter headcanons that could kinda fit into canon:
Little Harry wonders why his skin is so much darker than his relatives
He asked Aunt Petunia once and she pursed her lips and said "don't ask questions"
He's told to walk behind Aunt Petunia when she makes Harry hold all the groceries
At age 8, Harry is told his skin is so much darker because he's "dirty"
He showers till his skin is red and raw but he's still as dark as chestnut when he comes out
There is only one other boy with the same skintone as Harry in his grade
His name is Arjun and he doesn't have many friends
One time he came to Harry and offered to share his food - a round bread-like substance and potato that tasted a lot better than Aunt Petunia's
Arjun's face visibly dimmed in disappointment when Harry had no idea what the food was or how to eat it
He doesn't talk to Harry much after that but sends him a smile every time their eyes meet
Dudley and his gang beat up Harry for being poor, an orphan and dark but they bully Arjun for his yellow fingernails and because "he smells of curry"
At age 10, Harry knows his mother's name was Lily but not his father's
At age 11, a giant with the kindest eyes Harry's ever seen hands him an acceptance letter to Hogwarts and says "James and Lily would be proud" and Harry's heart soars
Harry's first friend has skin as white as snow but he's loyal and kind and funny and his favorite person in the universe
Harry's second friend has skin darker than his and Harry's eyes light up at the knowledge that he's not alone here in this world
Hermione Granger is fierce and unapologetically black, with cornrows braided into her hair and a glare sharp as knives. There's nothing in this world Harry wouldn't do for her
During November of his first year, kind and pretty Parvati Patil says "Happy Diwali" to him with a beaming smile
In the fraction of a second where Harry looks lost, Parvati's face falls
Harry's stomach clenches and he's reminded visibly of Arjun so he says "thank you Parvati, you too"
Parvati's smile is tumultuous but there
The tightness in Harry's stomach doesn't vanish though
Christmas Break arrives and Harry finds himself lost in the Mirror of Erised - he sees his father, darker than him but strong and proud and confident with mischievous eyes and a loving smile, his hand ruffling mirror Harry's hair affectionately
He sees his mother, pale like Aunt Petunia but oh so vibrant with her piercing eyes, warm smile and protective embrace around the Harry in the mirror
He sees his grandparents - rows and rows of people who look just like him
He wishes more than anything that he could trade places with the boy in the mirror
At the end of his first year, a sobbing Rubeus Hagrid hands him his most treasured possession
Harry flips through the pages of the album, his heart in his throat
He sees his father in a black tux, handsome and cheeky, with his lopsided glasses and tears in his eyes as he looks at Lily Evans-soon-to-be-Potter
He sees his mother, red hair braided back with flowers and a white, trailing dress that seemed to sparkle even in the picture - or maybe that was Lily herself, radiant with joy
His eyes widen as he sees their second wedding: Lily in a red blouse and skirt, embellished with mirrors and silver stones, henna decorating her hands and long silver earrings dangling from her ears
James Potter is dressed in red and gold: a long, red top that looks just as grand - but less shiny - than Lily's and flowing golden pants
They both sit peacefully in front of the flickering fire
He watches them place thick garlands of white flowers around each other's necks and cries
The last picture features baby Harry. Lily and James are once again dressed in ethnic wear, wearing blue this time, a baby Harry in a Snitch-covered onesie clasped between them. All three of them hold onto a lit sparkler and baby Harry laughs as they trace patterns in the air
Summer before second year, Ron rescues Harry from the Dursleys and brings him to his house
After that however Ron is more observant, more protective
When Parvati and Padma wish him Happy Diwali in second year, Harry stutters over the word and flushes with embarrassment but the twins smile at him kindly
On the other hand, Ron's jaw drops and a sinking realization occurs
Leaving behind an oblivious Harry he runs to find Hermione and they both head to the library
Harry doesn't know what the conversation entailed until the summer before his third year and instead of being expelled for blowing up his aunt, he's met by a relieved Minister of Magic
Before he leaves for Hogwarts, in addition to learning about mass murderer Sirius Black who murdered 13 people with a single curse, Harry finally learns his heritage
Arthur Weasley waves his wand and a golden 3D projection of the world balloons in front of Harry and it spins and comes to a stop in front of him
Arthur Weasley gently says "that's India, Harry. That's where you're from, where James was from, where your family lived before they immigrated to Britain in the 18th century"
India feels like home
He meets Ron and Hermione on the train and before the Dementors come he tells them that he's gonna spend the year researching India and their magical community
Ron and Hermione beam back
Hermione immediately pulls out a book and shows it shyly to Harry. The table of contents lists interesting topics that Ron and Hermione had brainstormed last year that they thought Harry would be interested in
Ron says "we didn't start the research of course this is all your history. But, well, we'd like to help"
Kind, loyal Ron who hates the library offering to help him and studious, goal-driven Hermione offering to give up her own studying time for him makes him almost well up
He'd die for these two, Harry thinks with certainty
Thrice a week they meet in the library for a few hours to research India
Hermione is in despair when she realizes the library's works on India were mostly all written by white people
She teaches Harry and Ron how to spot implicit biases and how to recognize the white savior complex and to avoid those books like the plague
"They'll never tell you anything accurate when they think white is the golden standard" Hermione says derisively
When Ron and Hermione fight over their pets, Harry heads to the library alone feeling empty
5 minutes later Ron appears panting and Harry lights up
They both work in silence for a couple of minutes, looking up at the library door hopefully
10 minutes later, Hermione barrels in and says nothing to Ron and nods at Harry and starts explaining her research
With Ron on his right and Hermione on his left, Harry feels invincible
Then Sirius Black turns out to be his godfather and innocent and the world tilts on its axis
Bolstered by Ron and Hermione's urging, Harry sends Sirius a letter, asking if he knew anything about the Potters' Indian traditions
The reply takes a while
Long enough that Harry regrets sending it all
But when Hedwig returns with a letter 6 pages thick, he understands
Sirius's letter reads: "God, Harry, how I wish James were around to tell you this himself. He loved his family and he loved his culture and he was so excited to share it with everyone he could - me, Remus, Lily and you. I'm not Indian but your grandparents took me in when I was young and shared their culture with me so I'll do my damn best to educate and help you learn about your culture too. James was from South India and if you've done any research you'll know that south and north India are vastly different. Even the South Indian states are vastly different. James's favorite holiday was Holi, a festival of color and laughter and it was perfect for your dad but his second favorite was Diwali, the festival of the triumph of the Hindu God Rama over evil. It was a time for family, for food and for light -"
Harry folds the letter and tucks it into the album Hagrid gave him in first year
He looks back at the picture with him and his parents and the sparkler and says "happy Diwali, mom, dad"
Fourth year rolls around and after a summer interrupted by Death Eaters and Voldemort's mark, Harry returns to Hogwarts and almost wishes he hadn't
Hermione is steadfast at his side and he loves her for it but Ron's absence numbs him
When Draco Malfoy says "we wouldn't want a colored champion anyway" Harry feels like lead
However, a multitude of spells are shouted in unison and a furious Hermione, Dean Thomas, Padma and Parvati Patil give Malfoy painful boils and elongated teeth
"You're pathetic Malfoy" Hermione growls, white teeth flashing on her dark face. "You talk about people of color as if they were beneath you but we've got more magic in our pinky than you have in your whole body"
When Parvati and Padma wish him a happy Diwali, Harry joyfully and confidentially returns the greeting and the twins beam, pleased
Ron joins him again and Harry feels complete
Hermione mutters "white boys" only for Harry to hear but her tone is fond and Harry chokes with laughter as Ron hugs them both
When Ron and Harry walk the disgruntled Patil twins back to their Common Rooms after the disastrous Yule Ball, Harry stops and asks them about India
Parvati and Padma frogmarch him to an empty classroom, leaving Ron to run behind them
Parvati looks ashamed as she says "we thought at first you didn't want anything to do with your culture, not that you didn't know"
Padma wiggles her wand and a black and white projection of India twists into shape
She explains about the colonization of India by Muggle Britain, how the Indian magical community in Britian had been forbidden from helping but she knew that the Potters and the Patils had both gone back to India to help the Muggle Indians, how India received Independence in 1947 and the Partition between the Hindu-dominated and the Muslim-dominated states that same year
Parvati takes over and explains more cultural events: the democratic parties of India, the different food and festivals and religions and languages, the different spiritual based magical system through chakras and physical movements
Something changes after that: the twins are staunchly on his side, hexing Malfoy and his goons when they pick on him and joining Ron and Hermione in the library when they can for their research on India
He goes to the kitchens to meet Dobby and asks for Indian food
Dobby gets so excited he immediately sets to work and Harry's mouth waters as he tries the parathas and the sambars and pav bhaji
He brings Ron and Hermione next time and laughs out of sheer happiness as they all eat fried rice and raita together
Hermione grows closer to her roommates and Lavender giggles and says "we're a dorm full of women of color, there's nothing we can't do"
Sometime between the second and third tasks, Hermione finds herself staying up late with her roommates and talking and laughing and allowing Lavender to do her hair
Lavender explains about her family: she's biracial and while she doesn't white pass, she did not inherit her dad's black hair and she's much lighter than most black people and much darker than most white people
Hermione's heart aches for her and she says "you're perfect, Lavender"
Harry then returns from the Third Task with the dead body of Cedric Diggory and news of Voldemort's return
It is July 31st, the summer before Harry's 5th year and he's just finished opening his friends' presents when a majestic owl swoops through the window and deposits a very heavy brown package on his bed
It's from the Patils and Harry gapes as he pulls out two salwar kameez, one in red and gold and one in black. The twins have also included copies of old family recipes and a boxful of ingredients like daals and spices that he can't find in the local grocery stores
He's had no contact with the wizarding world for a while and no news about Voldemort so he sets to work learning more about his heritage
The Dursleys leave him alone at home for most of summer so Harry takes odd jobs around the neighborhood to pay for groceries
The kindly manager of Little Whinging's grocery store comps his bill each time, despite Harry's protests so he dumps half the money in the tip jar
He's never worked with these spices or some of the vegetables before so Harry sets to work and after multiple failed attempts finally manages to make round rotis
He's eating his roti and subzi by hand once, feeling closer to his dad than ever before, when Aunt Petunia returns
An unidentifiable look crosses her features as she sees what Harry is eating but she doesn't say anything to him or to Vernon and Harry makes sure never to get caught again
He's at Grimmauld Place and Sirius and Molly refuse to get along
Ron and Hermione brainstorm and come up with a solution: they drag Sirius, Molly, Remus and Harry down to the Grimmauld Kitchens and tell them they'll all be learning how to cook Indian food
Both Sirius and Molly light up and Remus smiles as he sees some of the spark return to Sirius's eyes as he shares stories of mealtimes with the Potters and the dishes he'd learnt from Mrs Potter
"You know" Sirius says "your mother was so determined to learn how to cook Indian food she stayed over at the Potters in December of 7th year after she and James started dating. Never spent a day with James and spent all the time learning how to cook with your grandma"
Remus adds: "I remember James was worried about Lily not being able to handle the spice but she loved Indian food, took to it like a champ"
Ron takes to cooking like an old hand, pleasing Molly immensely, while Hermione gets increasingly frustrated with the instructions to "feel the amount of spices"
The day Harry gets acquitted, the 5 of them - Ron, Hermione, Molly, Remus and Sirius - successfully make Harry's favorite pav bhaji as a celebratory treat
The next three years are hard
It is no surpise when Umbridge's targets are muggleborns and especially colored muggleborns and Dumbledore supporters
Hermione is told "not to wear her hair like that" so she shaves it all off and in solidarity, Harry, Ron and the other colored students of Hogwarts and white allies do too and they protest loudly and persistently
When McGonagall finds out, she is furious
No one knows what happened between the two women but Umbridge removes the Educational Decree the very next day
Hermione finds a spell to restore everyone's hair but decides she likes her buzzcut and tries not to look too pleased when Ron gapes and whispers "you look so hot"
Neville tells Harry about his parents and Harry confesses to Neville that he's worried that he'll never understand his parents because he'll never understand his culture
Neville wraps him in a hug and says "you're learning about your culture and they'd be so proud of you"
And Harry hugs back and says "and Alice and Frank Longbottom couldn't have dreamed of a braver, more powerful son"
Neville doesn't quite believe him but Harry is certain - Neville is one of the bravest people he's ever met
The DA and their high is short lived and soon Sirius Black is dead and Harry hears the prophecy: "neither can live while the other survives"
In sixth year, much to Hermione's chagrin, Ron starts dating Lavender
Hermione is furious but Lavender had been a friend, had been kind to her and Hermione would never strike a fellow woman of color over a white boy, no matter how much she liked him, so she swallows her anger and sheaths her wand. No flying birds attack today
Harry falls for Ginny - fierce firecracker Ginny Weasley who's had his back since he first rescued her from Tom Riddle - and dreads Ron's reaction
Ron isn't happy but he loves his sister and his best friend and tell Harry that if he hurts her there will be trouble
Later Harry finds out that Ron also made the same threat to Ginny - that Ron would not be happy if Ginny did anything to break Harry's heart
Ginny had nodded solemnly and given her brother a proud look before crushing him in a fierce hug
Harry shares his culture with Ginny - everything he knows about it and takes her down to the kitchen and makes her try every single dish he can think of
Ginny laughs and says she's going to get fat but obligingly eats everything just for the delighted look on Harry's face
Dumbledore dies, Harry and Ginny break up and the war officially begins
Tom Marvolo Riddle Jr is dead - but so are Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Fred Weasley, Colin Creevey and so many more that Harry couldn't save
The years after the war is slow healing: Harry, Ginny, Hermione and Ron move into a small flat together in central Diagon Alley and they heal together
Hermione shows them muggle London and her own traditions and Harry cooks Indian food twice a week for his friends
Ron cooks every other day and Ginny somehow cons the owner of a new cupcake store into getting free cupcakes all the time and they sometimes cry together but also they heal together
Harry starts learning his mother-tongue
Two years after the end of the war, the four of them receive an invitation from the Patils
The Patils take them to India - they're going to meet the Patil family but they're also going to explore south India - specifcally the state where Harry is from - and Harry is so excited he can't sit still
They Portkey to India and Harry's eyes widen as he takes in the explosion of color, of unfamiliar sounds, of familiar sounds in an unfamiliar tongue, of smells, of the beautiful, vivid sights he'd only read about
He closes his eyes, breathes in deeply and thinks: home
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