KOLKATA: Netraprasad Sharma, a Class X dropout from Pampu bustee in West Bengal’s Buxa Tiger Reserve Forest, received an international call a few days ago. He could hardly believe himself when the caller identified herself as J K Rowling, the world-renowned British author of the Harry Potter series.
Rowling told Sharma, who works as a tour guide in the reserve forest zone, that she wanted to feature him as the main character in her upcoming novel.
After the call, She sent Sharma a 272-page draft of the novel with a request to meet her in California to discuss the finer details about his life and work. “She helped me to get a passport and my visa application approved. I am California bound this July,’’ said Sharma.
The seed of Sharma’s journey from Buxa to California was sown a year ago when a group of six US students visited the tiger reserve. They were impressed by Sharma’s knowledge of the wildlife, including his ability to track the locations of wild animals. After the tour ended, the students interviewed him for more than an hour. During the interview, recorded on camera, he narrated his plight —how he stopped pursuing higher education because of a financial crisis at home and how his love for nature made him a tour guide.
“After the students left, I got busy with my profession and forgot them,’’ recounted Sharma. “A few days ago, I received a call from one of the students named Laura. She told me that J K Rowling wanted to speak. I could not believe myself. Rowling wanted to portray me in her next novel after watching the interview by students.”