Best Friends

I was nine and it was my first day at a new school. My oldest brother walked me up to my classroom, after gently nudging me in he disappeared into a vortex of green uniforms and shiny Bata shoes. As a morning hymn broke out over the intercom, I could feel the tears coming. The prospect of being Forever Alone in a classroom of 53 students is a bleak one, you know. So when a girl in pig-tails smiled at me and spoke to me, she became my absolute best friend. For the next few years anyway. In those few years we co-authored a Nancy Drew rip-off, exchanged friendship bands and Elle18 nail paints, we memorised 'IfYouWannaBeMyLover' and cherished every newest form of 'Raj' that Shah Rukh took on screen. When I eventually moved away, we wrote letters for a few months and although we are Facebook friends now, we don't share much more than an obligatory 'like'.

Of course, it was simpler finding a best friend then, it could begin with prolonged exposure to the neighbour's kid or sharing the same bench in class. But as we get older, the clauses get tighter. We begin to seek similarities and look for people who like the same stuff or at least hate the same stuff we do. Whatever it's foundation, friendship is fascinating, the idea of simply liking someone for no reason than to hang out with them, makes it possibly the most unselfish of relationships. 

For this Soup story, photographer Anish Sarai and I indulged that fascination and documented friends across age-groups and social backgrounds in an attempt to understand what makes random people click. 

 Nitin, Kartik and Pradeep

Nitin, Kartik and Pradeep

"We have to be best friends with Kartik, he's the best batsman on our team," Pradeep

 Tasha, Soni, Insha

Tasha, Soni, Insha

Me: What do you have in common?

In unison (laughing): Salman Khan

 Suman and Yashoda

Suman and Yashoda

"She's a better cook than me, I hate her for it. And respect her for it," Suman on Yashoda.

 Farhad and Mikhail

Farhad and Mikhail

"I've always gotten along with gay men so it's never been a point of discomfort for me. I actually think in a lot of ways I'm a gay guy who just happens to like women," Mikhail. 

 Naima and Anagha

Naima and Anagha

"I want to wear salwar kameez because she's wearing salwar kameez."

 Nurul and Hur

Nurul and Hur

"We have been best friends for very long," Nurul.

Me: How long?

Nurul: Since 2015

 Bhavani, Prachi and Jill

Bhavani, Prachi and Jill

Me: What do you do when you hang out?

Prachi: We chat and take selfies.

Me: What is your Whatsapp group called?

Jill: Besties

Written by: Meera Ganapathi

Photography: Anish Sarai