Raman Chora, the musician from Pune, grew up in the southern part of India – in the city of Bangalore – and studied at a well-known convent school in the western part of the capital of the state of Karnataka.Even though he wasn’t considered the smartest in his grade, he wasn’t short of confidence; after all, he did consider himself the coolest one out there. Inspired by Aamir Khan in Dil Chahta Hai, he would put extra gel on his hair and spike it up, perfectly. Now, in India, if you barely pass your exams and you consider yourself ‘too cool’, you are automatically disliked by the teachers.
The teachers weren’t a fan of his and ‘his style’ so much so that they had made one of the sports teachers cut his hair in public, in front of his entire division of the grade! It was one of the most embarrassing days in school for the 13-year old but Raman being himself, laughed at himself along with the entire school…having an idea in his head of how jealous teachers were. Laughing at himself was one of the reasons why he had the amount of friends he had but deep down, even he knew that most of people he considered friends weren’t as close to him as he expected of them.
After the incident, almost everyone knew him in school but that wasn’t the only reason why he was well known. An year before the hair-cut event, he had shot himself to ‘fame’ by doing something he wasn’t proud of: The boy from Pune had become the first in his grade to ask a girl out. The news spread like wildfire and from being a boy, who was considered too seedha by his classmates, he was talked of by his juniors and seniors in school.Christina, the girl whom he liked was from Montreal, Canada, had just moved to the Space City and – pretty much – answered ‘no’, straight up, and told him that she considered him a lallu! He felt like an absolute clown and if there were any amount of confidence going into it, now, even he could now smell the smoke in his arsenal.
What made the matters worse was that – like most good-looking girls in school – she was a quite famous which resulted in hundreds peeping in to his classroom before the morning assembly the just next day…wanting to get a glimpse of the person who asked out the girl from Canada.
As the day wore on, he could hear a lot of whispers in the class. There were giggles when he was asked a question and chants of ‘Christina’ when his name was called. There were more whispers and – what looked like – a million stares during the lunch break. Furthermore, people came up to him and questioned him several times about his intentions, desires and of what made him act in the way he did so.
Although he found the whole interrogation experience a little overwhelming but secretly, he was enjoying it. Never had people wanted to speak to him like they were doing then and he was trying to be as diplomatic as possible – dodging questions left, right and center. As the days passed, people mocking him by asking, “Where is Christina?” had become a routine exercise.One day, sitting with friends, who couldn’t stop teasing him with the girl’s name, he started to laugh at his own actions and then, figured out a defense mechanism. He thought that if he laughed his own self, no one could really trump that. If he laughed at his own shame and wore it as though there were no guilt and made fun of himself instead of trying to his justify his own doings, he would able to laugh at him and people would get over it quicker.
So, it began. Raman laughed at everything that happened. He laughed at the good and at the bad, and did not care one-bit of what people thought and said. This, on paper, sounds good but in reality, it didn’t really work well because the teachers and somehow, all of his neighbors got to know of his karnamey in school, and if you know, in India, it’s a massive deal! The information was communicated by every source to his parents and some of the days that followed weren’t pleasant.
In school, now he wasn’t called by his first name by students, they called him the ‘Christina-guy’; the teachers were interested in knowing if this was the reason why he came to the school for, if he has been brought up by his parents in a ways unacceptable in the Indian society; and at home he was repeatedly asked, “Why do you go to school? Do we send you to school to do all this? Have we taught you this?”In this situation, all Raman did was question his actions and ask himself if he had done anything wrong. After much thinking, like a typical teenager, he came to a conclusion that the teachers were old-fashioned and the other students were not as ballsy!
But a part of him matured. Being himself, he started accepting the entire situation, and slowly and gradually as time passed, he made friends. It took time but his confidence was restored and what followed was him improving his style, personality and reputation, but in spite of all that, what he never gave up on was Christina. Although he never succeeded, he tried effortlessly and at times, even got borderline creepy which resulted in him being addressed by the Canadian girl how much she hates him.
After almost a decade, Raman has moved on and the couple occasionally see each other in Pune at his musical gigs but each time that they meet, there are never words exchanged…just smiles as Raman still continues to laugh at everything: the good and the bad.