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Today was a special day – my best friend’s birthday. And he’s in America, so I had to wait till 9/10 pm to be able to call him. We even managed to Skype for a bit, which is incredible for people like us.

We were classmates in Grades 1 & 2, and though we spent time apart in Grades 3-5 and after I moved to India, I’ve never encountered an individual I share the same rapport with.

As kids, we used to have several sleepovers. It started off in the era of the Gameboy and where CartoonNetwork.com had some fantastic games to play. We used to spend time trying to link up our Nintendo devices, and fail with every single effort. The first time we slept over, I cried at his house, missing my mother. The second time we slept over, he cried at mine.

We’re two peas in a pod, and our parents exploited this to their maximum benefit. The rules we lived by were the same, our desire to study and do well was the same, and we had similar ways of chilling: a sport to play, a few books to read, and our electronic gadgets.

Soon we both learnt instruments, and before my voice cracked, I sang songs as he played the guitar – which later turned into jamming on his keyboard.

We went to theme parks together, built forts out of pillows, got cricket bats stuck on trees. His parents took me to Church a few times, because I slept over at his house, and we even attended a few summer camps together.

As we grew older, I always worried I’d lose touch with him. He’s a boy I quizzed with, learnt French with, and played PSP with. He’s the guy who helped me get over my fear of Zombies, by making me play Call of Duty Black Ops before sleeping.

He’s a mate who pranked me by making me eat Tabasco Habanero sauce by telling me it was Tomato Ketchup.

And more recently, he’s the friend I’ve been able to speak to freely about University: merely because he started one year after I did (because of Dubai’s education system).

I’ve written far more flamboyant pieces about my friendship with this lad, even did a project in the 7th Grade about how we stayed in touch despite the distance. But for today, this feels fitting.

So Happy Birthday, mate! I hope Boston treats you well, you find a nice thali place you like, and you eat curd rice the way you do: putting the curd next to the rice and mixing it with a fork and a spoon (something I will never forget). May thy year be lovely.

 

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