Count On Me!
We weren’t enemies in the beginning, but back then, she scolded me while defending her then best friend. We first met in 2012, under very nameless circumstances, in a hostel, where Vaishnavi was my senior and also a year older in grade. Through many mutual friends, we finally got to know each other. She was a part of the group, but she saw that I always used to stand alone. So she was like— “it’s okay; you can stand with me.”
Like many say, what happens in boarding schools doesn’t cross its borders. To a certain degree, it was true. A year later, she left, and I had my boards. I never thought we’d carry through our somewhat vague friendship. But we did.
It has been eight whole years now, and we still call each other. We’ve listened to one and the other, without judgments and suggestions. That’s what friends are for, to understand. But what has a strong bond, doesn’t need to be vigorously exercised. We do not speak to each other every day. But whenever we even chat, we manage to make each other laugh. That’s one of the reasons we’re friends— we find common ground of stupidity as funny. But what defines our friendship?
We’ve rarely celebrated birthdays together, except one of hers. Eight years of friendship and one birthday celebration don’t necessarily sum up. We’ve argued, but who doesn’t? We discuss everything— life, food, stupidity, bitching, politics, universe, movies, and nature. What is ironic about Vaishnavi and my friendship is that my and her elder brothers are best friends too. They met through us, became best friends, and now look down at us as one.
Many people came and went— groups of best friends, friends, boy/girlfriends, but we remained the same. We never turned our backs on each other, even though many of our friends were jealous of us. We both have had puppies that passed away. We both have had our family dramas. We love food (together). We are loud. Too expressive with expressions. We laugh together. We embarrass ourselves amongst a crowd and laugh at each other.
Of course, at this point, everyone except the few people who know us, know that there is nothing more than pure friendship. But not all eyes see the same. It has been a private joke thus far, how people want to make things up. We are always goofy, at malls, street markets, restaurants. Once when we were walking at a Departmental store, I was busy looking for things to put in the cart. A couple of minutes later, Vaishnavi came up to me and said, “That guy mistakenly pushed me slightly. But he apologized, looking at you.”
Vaishnavi and I both know and understand our boundaries as friends, which I believe is an essential aspect of any relationship/friendship. We maintain and respect that. Whenever she visits me at my house, she brings along lots of baked goods, chutneys, and masalas and my favorite— Shenga Poli. To our relief, she’s also a kaam wali bai, as every time she’s visiting, she cleans and cooks and washes the Bartan. And isn’t that everything one looks in a best friend?