Raman Chora And His First Time

Posted: Friday, July 15, 2016 by Kratik in
2

 Don’t get your hopes up, this is not erotica!


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.
 
 

Introducing Raman Chora

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 by Kratik in
3

Let me take you on an adventure…
Well, he is stupid. Ah, let’s be fair to him…probably, na├»ve is the right word.
Raman – who sings for a local Indian band in Pune, India and who has a massive ADHD problem – dreams to be bigger than his idol, Billie Joe Armstrong. No matter how impractical people call him, he is a self-proclaimed legend, having an unwavering belief and a confidence in his own ability, but missing the cockiness attached to the title.
The 25-year old is a sensitive, passionate and an extremely spontaneous man who gets manipulated easily. Add following his heart and Mumma’s boy to it, and it results in a combination that doesn’t bode well.
 
Women are his weakness and he falls in love way too easily, which – considering he is a Huffledor (get the Harry Potter context) – sees him land in complicated situations all the time, often resulting in heartbreak.
He speaks three languages and understands another two, and does most things that are considered ‘cool’…but he has a problem of overthinking everything. At times, he even overthinks his overthinking!
 
He can’t stand bullies and people with extreme views, but is still friends with them because he prizes everything in life. Whether it’s friendships, love, relationships or even at work, he puts down conditions for most things and considers himself a leader, but even he knows that he is too chicken to be one.
He wishes to live his life drama free but his decisions don’t allow the same, and being a massive believer in destiny, he feels that everything happens for a reason. He doesn’t lose hope and works hard towards what he wants to achieve, but that’s usually to get out of the mess that he often creates for himself.
He is a self-proclaimed know-it-all rebel, unfazed by celebrities, who never holds back in telling people what he believes and says will follow it to his grave.
To cut it short…he is clown who often gets himself into awkward, shameful, scary, ridiculous and at times, dangerous situations but ends up loving and enjoying every moment of it!
 
Get ready as I take you on an adventure J 

Seeing God From The Naked Eye

Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2016 by Kratik in
1

“Cricket Is Our Religion, Sachin Is Our God.”

I can happily say that I am from a generation where millions just watched cricket so that they could watch him bat. I still remember the time when people would leave cricket grounds or switch off their TV sets at home after Sachin Tendulkar got out. As big of a cricket fan as I was growing up, a die-hard Gangulian, it was mind-boggling to me; I couldn’t understand the whole sachin-mania.

I remember seeing him practice for the first time in 2000 when the Indian national cricket team was in nets at Poona club and to my surprise, he looked…normal. But there was something about him. I remember watching the attention that he attracted every time he jogged past a crowd on the sidelines; it was unprecedented. He was the only one that people were going crazy for and had to be held back by the police every single time. As for me, I was as excited to see Ajit Agarkar practicing catches as spot him sprint in front of me.

I remember sitting in a ‘tuk-tuk’, on my way back home, not believing that I had just watched the Indian team train and as satisfied as I was, I couldn’t flush my head of those people going crazy for Sachin. There was something about him that nobody else had: an aura of some sorts.


I mean he had been the poster boy of Indian cricket for the past few years, and he had obviously played those test innings in the recent past against Pakistan and those two unforgettable knocks at Sharjah against Australia not too long ago and he was the youngest cricket captain that India ever had but I couldn’t get my head round the fact that people started to cry after they saw him from close. It was crazy; I just couldn’t understand.

So, I started reading on him, watching more of his videos and interviews and speaking to as many people in school and in the neighborhood, trying to figure out how and why he was so big, and I came to an understanding that everyone whom I spoke to felt that they considered one of their own: like a brother and one who had the backing of everyone. What was really interesting that most of the people I interacted with referred to him as Sachin and not Tendulkar, underlining the fact that they felt like he was one of them.


As I grew older, I finally got a chance to watch him play and to my astonishment (not!), he played one of his best IPL innings, scoring an unbeaten 72, against KKR. The only reason I went to Mumbai was to watch Sourav Ganguly bat but I came home realizing that I had wasted my life not seen Sachin – the man who carried the national team for the longest time – bat from naked eyes for India. It so happened that even though I was backing Dada’s team, seeing the ‘master blaster’ stroke the ball, I couldn’t stop but wishing more of the same. Now that I think of it, a bunch of us grew up as Gangulians, Dravidians and fans of Azhar but by default, we were all Tendulkarites.

In 2009, I was writing for a national Indian newspaper and in August, I was told that the cricketing maestro was going to be at this MCA press conference that I also had an invite to. An overly excited me, reached three hours before the event and discovered there to be an outrageous amount of media. As it turned out, what was going to be a press conference had to be changed to a proper hall function with a stage and speakers. As the he walked onto the stage, even people from the media cheered. I was amazing – and shocking – at the same time; I mean who expects the media to cheer? But then, I knew that I wasn’t the only one for whom he was a really big deal and my excitement was justified!


But what happened next was even more surprising. After speaking, the ‘God of Cricket’ went and made himself on the chair that he was previously sitting on as Mr. Ajit Wadekar took the began to speak, and after a couple of minutes very expertly exited from behind the curtains which I did not take a note of. Apparently, everyone else did and there was a wave of journalists, in groups, running out of the door, hoping to get a shot of the legend. That wave was nothing like I had ever seen before; it was brisk just like Sachin’s straight drive.

From the time he walked in to the time he left, you couldn’t help notice his aura; it was the third time I had noticed it. It was massive and gracious. And from what I have read and heard, it was of a man who just wanted to play cricket and worked relentlessly hard to become who he was: the best ever who was loved by billions for what he did and how he served.


Over four years ago, when I had started off with my masters in sports management at the Florida State University, I was asked to give a presentation on cricket. As I was about to start the presentation, one of my classmates raised her hand and said, “I don’t know much about the sport except for Sachin, who is called your God, I have watched him play a few times.” That instance. Just that; it still makes me smile. Who would have thought that somebody on the other side of the world, who doesn’t even know the rules of cricket, would be knowing of India’s famous number ten!


From being somebody who thought Sachin was a fantastic batsman to one growing up to realize that the ‘Little Master’ is not just a cricketer, he is much more than that. To a bunch of us, growing up in the 90s, he has been cricket. Even though I have been in his presence a few times, the only regret that I have so far in my life is to have not watched God play for India from the naked eye.

At The End Of The Tunnel

Posted: Friday, April 15, 2016 by Kratik in
5






At the end of the tunnel, there is always light.


Being the rebel that I was during my days of studying engineering, encouraging the others to follow their dreams and not to do what the person next to him was doing, I only ever sat for one engineering job interview – not because I didn’t have an opportunity to do so but because if working as an engineer was the last thing left on this planet to do, I still wouldn’t have done it.

A part of me – or maybe more – didn’t even want to sit for that interview with a reputed software company but I had my reasons: I wasn’t making much by working in sports and there was no stability whatsoever, and I was told by many college teachers to give up on dreams and to ‘settle’ for a job. Also, I had always done what my heart said without as much success as I would have liked to enjoy, so, for once, I wanted to see if what they said made any sense.

…and so, one morning, I woke up and decided to walk into a building close to Yerwada jail in Pune for a referral interview.

It was not an interview; it was an audition based on aptitude tests! And me being me, I obviously didn’t make it.





So, here I was, teary eyed and feeling like an absolute loser, walking out of the company’s large off-white premises. Me being my biggest critic, I got angry at myself and came to a deep realization that my life wasn’t going anywhere. But I loved myself way too much, enough to call myself special. Now that I think of it, I believe I did everything possible to restore my self-respect and for the same, and at times, even went to the extent of calling myself the chosen one – chosen to live a life beyond the greatest dreams, to defy the odds, win the the biggest of fights and more importantly, in time, win the hearts of people.

So, I didn’t get the job and I felt like a loser, but I had also learned that life was a celebration and no matter what happened, it must be lived to the fullest. So, shamelessly, I decided on going for a concert that weekend. Now, if you have graduated as an engineer six months ago and are working only part-time sports jobs – including football commentary, half-time shows, content writing, managing websites, marketing, ticket sales, sponsorship and journalism – you aren't expected to go for concerts or anything that is a lot of fun, especially, if you are born in a society as conventional as India, but I did and with a sense of pride attached to it. Why? I don't know. It just felt good. Intuition, maybe.

On the days when I wasn’t working part-time, I would apply for a bunch of fancy-ass sports jobs. Now, I knew Arsenal wouldn’t offer me a job to recruit kids for their academy but at the end of the day, irrespective of how improbable it was, I relied on miracles. And that’s why they are called miracles - because they are ridiculously improbable.

On the day of the concert I had promised myself to not think about jobs and career and smile all day. At the concert, the performer was talking about grace and he mentioned miracles, and I began to ask myself when would my miracle happen?

And then it did…

At the concert, I was with friends and performance was so good that the dance came naturally. I was doing the only step I knew: the bulb-fix dance-step!

It was then when my phone began to vibrate and I noticed that I was getting a call from a different country. So, I sprinted outside the auditorium and to my surprise, it was a man from France on the phone. The height of shock was coming to terms with the fact that he was excited and ready to offer me a job to work as a sports analyst for a Singapore based company.

I was like: What? Like what?

I couldn’t have not accepted it; it felt like a dream and after I entered the hall again, I shook myself to explain what had actually happened. It was a wonderful feeling!

(Me with Katsumi Yusa when I was working as an analyst
for a number of Indian soccer teams including ONGC)

After getting home from the concert, I scribbled, “If you have ever had a dream and you dared to follow it, you must have realized that it’s not always that you find yourself seated in the prettiest position. As the time passes and the things don’t go in your favor, you tend to lose hope and start looking for alternatives. Somehow, from somewhere, when you think all is lost, He shows you a light in the dark that presents you with a glimmer of hope.”

…and I still stand by it.

When things don’t go how you intend them to pan out and you are faced with situations filled with frustration, one must not lose hope because miracles do happen. At times, I am in situations where things feel like they haven’t fallen in place but I remind myself continuously that it's important to keep your head up and keep going because miracles happen every day, every hour, every minute and every moment; one just needs to notice the miracle that is.

Because no matter who you are and what you do, if you have done everything possibly possible, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Keep smiling, guys. Live your dream and have a fantastic day!

Love,
Kratik Malhotra

No breath, no life.
Know breath, know life J

                                        

The Greatest Fight

Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2016 by Kratik in
2

“Family first, then, Manchester United, then, everything else in the world.”

When I had just moved to Chicago, I knew the challenge that was in front of me. I knew that I would have had to fight to get the most out of the opportunity; in fact, I even labelled it as an adventure and I was ready.

In general, my first impression of Chicago was that it was a city which would demand a lot out of me and my biggest fight would have to be with myself; in fact, I was convinced that the city was going to make me run ragged but I was ready.

I believed that Chicago would teach me a ton but at the same time, it would all come at a cost, in fact, I promised myself to stand up against anything that stood in my way and I was ready.
I thought the city would want me to dodge a couple of tackles, play a little one-two, cut inside, then, take it outside and expect me to curl it into the top corner, in fact, I was sure of it and I was ready. At least, I believed so.

…and I was correct.

The Windy City demands a lot out of you. In fact, it wants you to get lost within itself but it does give you an opportunity to make it bigger than yourself. And it tests you (if you want to call it that) and brings the best out of you.

I was in India a couple of months ago and as I was walking over to board the plane for Chicago, I couldn’t stop crying. It wasn’t that I didn’t love what I did or I had any problem; in fact, for once, everything was perfect: I had a cool job that I loved, I had made a few good friends, and I was living the biggest city that I had ever lived in and working in the heart of its downtown for a company that had some of the top soccer teams as clients, but I was crying.

It was a cry out of love, desire and for the task because for the first time, I had realized everything that I was sacrificing to live in America – to fight to achieve a dream called Manchester United. Most things that I have done in the past seven years – whether it’s related to jobs, certifications or in general, the decisions that I have taken – it’s always been about making it to United. And now, that the opportunity is in front of me; now, that I can – although distant – can see the goal, I cannot stop.

I wrote earlier about ‘making it’.
What is ‘making it’? Me making it has always been to make it for myself. If I give my 100%, I would win for me and I would make it for me, and if I make it for me, I would make it. I know. But what is giving my 100%? It is the realization that no matter what anybody says, I couldn’t have given any more…not even 0.0000001% more.

But to make it, one must give his 100% and for me, that’s learning. If I learn what I think there is to learn, I will be the best that the world has ever seen and I would make it. And so, I have been constantly repeating and blindly following a verse written by Muhammad Iqbal’s almost a century ago,


“Khudi ko k
ar buland itna ke har taqder se pehle
Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kya hai.”


(translating to “Raise thyself to such heights that God Himself may ask, ‘what do you wish for me to write as your fate.’”)


I am very spiritual but I am not religious (get the difference), and I believe in God but I wouldn’t give him a name and fight with someone who calls him somethings else. He is an energy that gives us everything that we need, whenever we need (not want) it. At times, he teaches us a lesson too, and it’s important and so worth it in the longer run.

So, all I have been trying to do is raise myself to an unparalleled height, comparing myself to me and not to anybody else, and I feel strong – stronger than I have ever felt before.

As of now, I am nothing but for some reason, I don’t fear anything. For once, it seems as though I am closer to the dream than it ever was. For once, I feel that I am currently in my greatest fight, the greatest battle which I will ever live to see and unsurprisingly, it is with myself.

For once, I am ready to risk all the money that I have earned to learn…to make it. For once, I feel that Manchester United is my destiny!

…but only if I learn everything that there is to learn.

I don’t believe in miracles; I rely on them.

Kratik Malhotra


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