Friends who fight together stay together

By Kaavya Butaney and Vaishu Sirkay

It’s uncanny when two best friends end up applying for Talon (without knowing the other is applying). It’s even more uncanny when those two best friends watch all the same shows, both live in navy blue sweatshirts, make the same jokes and have the same role (second speaker) in our respective Public Forum debate partnerships. 

Elli Lahdesmaki

In case you couldn’t tell, we’re the aforementioned best friends. And despite all of those supposed similarities, we argue like crazy. Often, it’s about facts, such as how old Jake Peralta is (39) or what year the oil economy crashed (2014). While the right answer is often found with a Google search we, of course, bicker about who was technically right.

But then there are the more serious arguments—which occur mostly because, as sleep-deprived fifteen-year-olds, we make really bad decisions. All the time. And when we do, or when we’re about to, we always let the other one know, even if it causes a fight, because we do have each other’s best interest at heart and we’re not afraid to yell at each other.

But fights aren’t the worst thing in the world—they’re actually a good thing, even though they might not seem like it at the time. So long as the fights stay respectful (and non-physical), reconciliation is always possible. When you’re close enough to fight and make up, like we are, you clearly love each other. Fights are a healthy and important part of relationships. 

Just to catch you up, our families have been close since the 1960s, since our grandfathers were besties. We grew up calling each other’s grandmothers “dadi” (the Indian word for grandmother), and we were never treated like mere guests at the other’s house. Sometimes, we joke that we had no choice but to be friends—otherwise, we’d be breaking a 50-year tradition (or at least Vaishu says that). We’ve known each other since birth, and we’ve been arguing just as long.

As little kids, one of the most common fights we would have would be about our imaginary games, which we played whenever we saw each other, usually once a week. Our favorite was the Hogwarts game, where we were Gryffindor twins who were best friends with Ron, Harry and Hermione. Like other twins, we would argue about who was the older one. Vaishu would argue that since she’s younger, she should have the chance to be older sometimes. Kaavya would argue that to maintain accuracy, she should be older. Sometimes our fights got so heated that we would stand at opposite ends of the room to avoid talking to each other. And by sometimes, we mean every time.

Eventually, we agreed that our mother had a grisly surgery and we were born at exactly the same time. To this day, the mention of who is older sparks a debate where we run through the exact same points over and over till one of us gives up. We always look back on those silly fights with a smile, because we fought like family, and really, that’s what we were, and still are. 

But as we got older (looking at you, fourth through sixth grade Kaavya and Vaishu), we grew apart. We didn’t go to the same school, so we stopped spending as much time together. We would see each other once every few months, and we remained friends, but we certainly weren’t close enough to quarrel like we did when we were little. 

In seventh grade, though, we both went to Egan Junior High, and the torture of middle school brought us close together again. We both had the same friends and spent a lot more time together. But we still didn’t fight. Sure, we talked and ate lunch together everyday, but we avoided most confrontation—we were just getting to know each other again, and weren’t sure our friendship would be able to survive a major fight.

But it did, and there’s one argument we both remember vividly. It happened in eighth grade when we had the same math class, right before brunch. After a couple terse comments, we got so frustrated with each other that one of us huffed off and we didn’t talk for the rest of the day. After school ended, though, both of us opened our phones at exactly the same time to apologize. We still can’t agree who actually apologized first— although Vaishu texted first, Kaavya said the word “sorry” first.

Every time we fight, we come back with an apology and a joke in hand.

Neither of us can remember what that fight was about, but in that moment, we realized that we were best friends once again. It didn’t matter that we had fought because we were still on the exact same wavelength. Every time we fight, we’re not scared to say the truth, to rip into each other, because we know that we’ll be there for each other no matter what.

And that’s a good thing, because, without each other, we’d fall apart in a couple of days. Who would we walk around with at lunch? And who would we talk through trashy movies with? Who would we call when something amazing happens, or when it feels like nothing is going right? We can’t imagine anyone else filling that role— at least, not as well as we do right now, fights and all.