Vaibhav and I had been best friends since childhood. The fact that we had been together in the same school and same class for 12 years provided us a strong base for our friendship. We had seen each other through thick and thin, we grew up together and matured over the years. We were together as we made our life choices, from college to charting our respective careers. We both knew each other’s families very well. I mean, given the abundant amount of time we used to spend together, that was obvious. His elder sister was particularly fond of me. And my little brother always took advice from him for his ‘girl matters’, and they bonded over football matches and gaming nights with beer. Vaibhav and I, we were always there for each other, whether it was a tiff with family, my periodic bouts of depression, his sister’s wedding or fallouts with friends. And yes, even when we had break ups.
Vaibhav was more like a “one woman man.” While he had crushes on girls every now and then, after his high school sweetheart broke his heart, he never really got around to dating anyone else. And after that heartbreak, we really got close to each other. I took it upon myself to fix him and prevent him from falling into the vicious trap of depression. That was the worst state I had ever seen him in, and seeing my best friend like that made me even more determined to make him the funny, happy-go-lucky guy that he had always been. And as for me, I had crushes (loads of them) and dated lots of guys over the years. And it ended terribly with each one of them, with no promise for the future. I’d like to believe that I’m not a difficult person so I guess it wasn’t me, but them.*wink*
One was a cheater, one was suffocatingly possessive about me and well, one was a workaholic with no time in his life from me. So you get the picture. Each of the guys had something unique, critically wrong with them, which weighed down on our relationship. However, each breakup was hard on me, being the extremely sensitive and emotional person that I am. Vaibhav was my “go-to person” and first resort, as somehow he always managed to tirelessly work to fix my broken heart. He was my savior. Sometimes, I wondered what an angel he was, to have such patience to deal with the cranky, crazy and clingy monster that I used to turn in to, each time I was going through a breakup.
In 2015, while I was working at PWC in Gurgaon, Vaibhav got through IIM Ahmedabad. Yes, Mr. Smarty Pants, just like that, cleared his CAT and interview and left to pursue his MBA. I was extremely happy for him; I mean he had always dreamt of studying at IIM and it fell perfectly well in his “life plan.” However, in my heart, I was also sad knowing how much I’ll miss our coffee dates, late night drives and our weekly movie regime. And most of it, the amount of time we spent together because MBA, studies and household chores would now consume most of his time. I also feared losing priority in his life, but I couldn’t say much. I jokingly, tried to dissuade him from going by putting forth an extremely strong argument: Gujarat is a dry state, how will you possibly survive, given your love for alcohol? Finally, the day arrived, and he moved to Ahmedabad.
After the initial few weeks of settling in, Vaibhav was surprisingly always in touch with me over phone calls, Facetime or Whatsapp. I failed to understand how he managed his studies and living alone without really compromising on my time. We used to share the highlights of our day and events, every single day. So him going away wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. Plus, he visited home every three months, so we used to squeeze in our regular to-dos during each visit: movie marathons, coffees and drives. And just like that two years passed by. I hadn’t managed to find “the guy” for myself, and neither had he found his other half. Once he completed his MBA, he was given the opportunity to visit Germany as a part of an exchange program for scholars.
Little did I know back then, that that one exchange program could change our lives forever. Once he left for Germany, I received no message or call from him for the entire first day there. I mean not even the mandatory “landed safely” message. And trust me, by the end of the day, I was hyperventilating and thinking of all possibilities from a plane crash to even him being robbed. The frantic person that I am, I decided to contact Vaibhav’s mother to ensure that Vaibhav is umm...“safe and sound” and the exchange is going as planned. After the second day of no phone call, and having ruled out the two possibilities, I came to the crazy conclusion, that Vaibhav dear must’ve fallen for a sexy German girl and decided to cut me out of his life. Then came the realization that I was being too paranoid, just by the fact that he had not contacted me for one day and that his phone was switched off. This was far from normal. This kind of concern and worry for a best friend, was overwhelming. That’s when I questioned myself, was I in love with my best friend? I mean he had always been there for me, maybe that’s why I could never figure out how I’d feel if he were away. And these feelings I felt, while he was away was more than just a concern for a friend. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He had been my only constant, with all the breakups and life’s dramas. Amidst my deep deliberations, the phone started ringing. It was Vaibhav calling. I picked up at the first ring and without hearing what he had to say or asking him the million questions about his disappearance and how he hadn’t called me, I blurted out an over emotional and an almost angry “I love you and don’t you dare leave me alone like this, ever again!” To my surprise, I heard him smiling with an “I love you more and I had been waiting to hear this all my life!” And that’s how I fell in love with him at the zillionth time.
*Names changed to protect privacy
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