The meaning of friendship has changed variedly for me over time, and yet it’s something that defines me as a person more than I knew it could. But what is it exactly? I have so many different ways of explaining it.

It’s that smiling face you find in class when you are stepping out of your home for the first time in life. It’s the person who lends you their new fancy pencil and in return you share your lunch with them. It’s the person whose name you search in the list of the new class on the first day. It’s the person with whom you want to be bench partners with. It’s the person with whom it takes seconds to break and mend the friendship, and yet you never keep any grudge inside.

It’s the person who plays silly games with you in the evening, and ends up creating even sillier versions with you. It’s the person who goes cycling with you to discover new streets in the locality and sometimes sits with you and watches cartoons. It’s the person who shares your small budding interests and makes you learn their own.

It’s the person you meet when you have moved places and thought were too old to make new friends. It’s the person who teaches you how to come out of your shell and meet new people. It’s the person from whom you first learn about all the dirty words. It’s the person you walk with in the evening every day, telling about your day. It’s the person whose sibling and parents are almost like your own, their home being your second home.

It’s the person you learn to share gossip with. It’s the person with whom you sit and stare at the dreamiest guy in class, and then tail him together in the recess. It’s the person you talk with for hours on phone after talking for hours in the class the same day. It’s the person with whom you learn how not to get competitive and help each other out. It’s the person you write letters to and keep them safe for years to come.

It’s that another smiling face you meet in a new home you have moved to, away from home. It’s that friend who can make you laugh so hard that you are out of breath and then make so much fun of you that you want to throw them off the balcony. It’s that person you spend every waking hour of your life with and still not get bored because there is so much to talk about. It’s that person with whom you learn how to cheat to score the passing marks because you sure as hell can never learn how to study together. It’s that person you cannot even imagine saying goodbye to because they are literally your family now.

There are so many different flavors of friendship, getting richer (and spicier) with every passing minute. In all the different phases of life, I have made so many friends. Friends I have never fought with and gradually stopped talking to; friends I have fought with so many times and yet am very close to. There were times when I have felt that I will never be able to rekindle my friendship with someone or the other due to some differences that we could never sort out, but I have realized that as we have grown up, all the silly fights don’t seem worth it anymore, and when I look back, I only regret all the lost years. I do not remember what I was mad about anymore, nor do they! And frankly, who has the time to think about all that? With so many other things rising up the stress levels in our lives everyday, we do not need another reason like that to add onto the things that we have to worry about each night before falling asleep. All that matters now is that they were your friends, you cared for them, they cared for you. If some part of you still cares for them, you will let go of whatever made you angry.

I have met a lot of old friends in recent times that I have not talked to properly in years, who once were the most important people in my life. Harsh it may seem, but it’s true that we will always keep meeting new people in life who will stay more updated with our life than our most closest/oldest friends. It does not mean that we forget them, but we cannot keep updating every other person about every small change that keeps happening. But when we do meet them, sometimes it feels like all these years never passed between us. I start feeling that I am right there, carefree, sharing every small detail, laughing, having no inhibition at all. Yes the person sitting in front of me is almost a stranger to me as we both have changed so much over the years, yet I know that we are both those exact people that we were when we first met because that’s what friendship does to you; it takes you back in time. You remember the good old days, along with just the good old memories.

I do feel sorry when I have to say goodbye to that person though, not knowing when we will meet again. I know we said that we will stay in touch, and I know it won’t be more than a formal ‘how are you’ followed by the birthday text exchanged twice a year, but I know that if we do ever meet again, it won’t be as awkward as I would have imagined. We would slowly slip into a comfortable zone, knocking the doors of our past and just being two silly friends, celebrating their friendship.