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Best Friends Kuch Aise Hote Hain

What happens when a beautiful girl and a drop-dead-handsome guy vie for the same position in a college election? There is a tie, of course! Fiercely loyal to each other, both do their own bit to let the other win, and celebrate their joint victory by playfully raising a toast to their friendship with a cheery, "Coca Cola Ho Jai." Full of fun, frolic and fizz, the twosome appear as bubbly and cool as the drink they are endorsing.

Yes, "Best friends surely kuch aise hote hain" - loyal, supportive and plain cool. Nothing can come between best friends - not even neck-to-neck competition. But do such idealistic girl/guy friendships exist in real life? Meet the frolicsome foursome Abigail, Floyd, Shane and Suneeta and you would be convinced that such cross-gender friendships are possible - despite the odds.

Abigail Roberts and Floyd Barrel are "best buddies". The two of them obviously share a very close bond and make no bones about admitting the fact. Floyd, a Marketing Operations Coordinator with a local company considers Abigail to be his "Guardian Angel" and is all earnest when he states, "Not only do I play a part in her life, but she plays a significant part in my life." Abigail, a young, peppy Customer Support Executive working in Dubai reciprocates Floyd's feelings by declaring, "Floyd has really made a lot of difference in my life. I"ll never trade anything or anyone in the world for Floyd."

Their friendship started three years ago, when they were first introduced to each other by Floyd's good friend Shane Sinklair. Shane, in turn, met his best friend Suneeta Shetty through Floyd. Today, all four of them share very close ties and can often be seen hanging out together in the shopping malls or beaches. The camaraderie and rapport they share are too warm to be missed.

The foursome share too good an understanding with one another to have any misunderstanding. And the understanding has come with the passage of time - each passing year has cemented their friendship further. Floyd fondly reminisces about the time when he was just getting to know Abigail. They had gone for a picnic, and Abigail seemed a bit upset about something, so he went up to her and asked what was bothering her. "We spoke about her problem at length and it emerged that Abigail had a small problem at home. I suggested a couple of ways she could tackle it. It was then that she realized that I was honestly trying to help her, and I guess that really cemented our friendship."

However, a simple friendship can get a bit complex when it is between a girl and a guy, for people often mistake the vibrant vibes between them to be the flying sparks coming from the cupid's arrows. "Are these two just good friends?" Or is there more to their relationship than meets the eye? No red roses, no candlelight dinners! Just plain friends??? "Impossible," they knowingly declare. According to some, if a guy and girl are close friends then, at some point, they are bound to get romantically involved. They feel that such cross-gender friendship between young people is simply a myth.

"No, it's not a myth - my best friend happens to be a boy, and I see no reason why anyone should consider this friendship to be any different from any normal friendship. A friend is a friend after all, whether a girl or a boy," counters Preeti Nagdev, a 16-year-old 12th grader. Frank and forthright, Preeti has no compunction in declaring that she considers Sandeep Saha to be her best friend. "Sandeep just happens to be a boy and that's it - otherwise, he's like any other friend. I talk to him the same way I talk to my girl friends. I treat him as a friend - not a girl or a guy. I don't believe in such classifications."

Her best friend Sandeep shares her views. As a matter of fact, he shares a whole lot of other things with Preeti. They both are 16, and are studying in XII grade. Even their hobbies match - both enjoy soft, Indian music and are good at drawing and painting. Now that they have summer vacations, both have teamed up to do a joint computer project together. No wonder, they never run out of topics of discussion when they chat over the phone. "We test each other's knowledge, clear doubts, and discuss our difficulties during exams. Preeti is very serious about her studies and inspires me to work harder - we have a healthy competition between us," says Sandeep. Many firm and lasting friendships result from shared interests, and when you talk to Preeti and Sandeep, it is evident why the two have "hit it off" so well. The good thing is - their parents and friends accept their friendship for what it is - a normal healthy friendship between two young people and so they never receive nasty comments from any quarters.

But Shane/Suneeta and Abigail/Floyd are not so fortunate, perhaps due to the intricate crisscross nature of their quadrangular friendship. Suneeta, who is a college student often receives "looks" from people that seem to imply, "Look at them - how can they fool around in public!" Another standard remark she gets to hear from her friends is - "C'mon now, don't tell me that Shane and you are just good friends!" Shane's friends, on the other hand, cannot come to terms with the fact that he has Suneeta as his best friend. They feel he is double-crossing Abigail.

Come to think of it - there is a thin line between a cross-gender friendship and a relationship. Sometimes, as the friendship grows and deepens, friends develop more intense loyalty, admiration and attachment for each other and the line between friendly and romantic feelings becomes too fine to distinguish. How do these four manage to maintain the "line of control"?

"Suneeta is my best friend - period. The question of taking the friendship any further does not arise. The four of us are tied by a bond, which is based entirely on trust, and one wrong move from one of us can jeopardize the happiness of all four of us. I respect my friends' happiness too much to ever cross the line," says a solemn Shane. The other three unanimously second his opinion.

What are the pros and cons of a guy/girl friendship? Everyone interviewed here feels that the best thing about such friendships is that they allow you to see things from the other half's perspective. Shane feels that girls are more responsible, more family-oriented and more mature than boys. "You tend to grow up faster in their company.

"It's simply amazing - my friendship with Suneeta has taken me to another level. When you've a girl as your best friend, you break from the usual stereotype - always doing the "boy things" with other boys and start exploring new things. You also start seeing things from a girl's viewpoint. In the long run - it is like a stepping stone for marriage. You're ready for marriage because you start understanding the other half so well. You learn what to say and what not to say to please girls," says Shane. Floyd somewhat echoes Shane"s views when he comments, "She can give you great advice on how to handle a difficult situation with your girlfriend."

Shane, Floyd and Sandeep also make another interesting point when they confess that their friendship with a girl has helped them to overcome their shyness with other girls. "I used to be a shy-guy. I would shiver in my shoes at the very thought of going up to a girl and saying hi - fearing, she would slap me or something. Now I know how to be normal in girl's company," confesses Shane with a disarming frankness.

The girls too feel that their friendship with boys have helped them to understand boys better. Suneeta feels that her friendship with Shane has this healthy "rivalry-cum-clean-fun" dimension to it that is missing from the usual girl/girl-friendships. Abigail goes one step further, when she declares that boys make better friends than girls. "I"m talking from my own experience. I did have a girl as my best friend, to whom I would confide all my secrets. However, the moment things turned sour between us, she betrayed my trust and told the whole world about it. Floyd and I too have had few misunderstandings - but he has never let me down till date." Abigail summarizes it all when she adds, " There are so many people who walk in and out of your life - but only friends leave lasting footprints in your heart. A friend like Floyd makes the world special by just being in it - thank you Floyd."

Well, what else can you say to that except - "Best Friends Really Kuch Aise Hote Hain"? So, here's to all such cool and fizzy friendships!

Kids and Teens(Previous Features)

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