The story of a friendship
Students describe the history of their relationship that finally led to their friendship. From right to left, sophomores
Sophomore Varsha Satheesh could finally finish her sentences.
With her old friends she was never really allowed to finish her thoughts — she couldn’t fit in with them. They wouldn’t let her do what she wanted and they eventually emotionally hurt her in eighth grade. Now, she sits under the shelter of the D building stairs looking over the basketball courts, resting against the wall to hide away from the weather. With her are sophomores Nithya Sampath and Adeline Pennec. But the wall doesn’t just shelter them from the wind, cold and rain; it shelters them from the people and the world around them.
“Here is just away from everyone else,” Sampath said. “We don’t care about what anyone else thinks or says.”
The girls sit close to one another, each on a separate step and when one speaks, the others turn their heads to face the speaker and listen. It’s far enough from the mobs of students on other parts of campus that Satheesh is quite certain: if the group decides to spontaneously burst into song, nobody would care to stop them.
The staircase is their own mini-home. It’s their place to have their peaceful, calm and finally-stable friendship flourish. A relationship based on a mutual love for Hot Cheetos.
Holding tradition and meeting a friend
Satheesh and Sampath found one another on the first day of sixth grade P.E.
“Something clicked. We’re both hot cheetos addicts, so that fueled [our friendship],” Satheesh said. “We used to go get Hot Cheetos together — there were quite a few memories like that.”
Although Satheesh was born and raised in Cupertino, people tend to comment on how she’s “very Indian.” In return, these comments led to her first impression of Sampath as having found another person of her ethnicity.
Although she finds being called “very Indian” an insult, she hasn’t changed anything about the way she chooses to live her life.
“Even though I was born here and everything, I value my roots,” Satheesh said. “I mean, you have to respect and be able to understand where you come from.”
When Satheesh was a child, her grandparents in India were in constant fear that they’d be called “grandma” and “grandpa” instead of what they should be called in her language. They considered those names an insult because of the way the Indian media portrayed the two words.
In hopes to prove Satheesh’s grandparents wrong, Satheesh’s mom taught Satheesh how to respect others and her own roots, teaching her many Indian languages. She taught her how to show that Americans aren’t the insulting people that Indian media portrayed them to be.
In turn, Satheesh grew to enjoy many extracurriculars that were Indian-based. And that may make her Indian, but she doesn’t appreciate the rude remarks others make about that.
As soon as she met Sampath, the main thought that raced through her mind was how she found somebody else of her ethnicity who shares her sentiments toward it as well.
A stick of gum. That was all that it took to launch the friendship between Satheesh and Pennec. In a class that they shared, Satheesh gave a piece of gum to her friend and Pennec asked if she could also have one. This incident and a shared class of P.E. was enough to let them bond.
For Sampath, the first day of choir was when she met Pennec, where after talking together they began to get more comfortable together.
But although they all eventually became friends with each other — they never thought they’d become the tight-knit group that they are today.
Their most memorable story is of how they finally made it to each other. It all began in eighth grade.
“In eighth grade there was this series of events and those series of events were kind of life-changing for me,” Satheesh said. “Afterward, I learned that lots of the people that I thought were my friends, they tend to hurt you from behind.”
After hearing her own friends spread erroneous gossip to both their parents and her own parents on her birthday, Satheesh couldn’t take it anymore. She began to sit isolated from the world.
“The first few days when I started sitting alone I was pretty depressed,” Satheesh said. “There were quite a few things that happened and at the end it was life changing because I was scared to trust anyone, scared to sit next to anyone and scared to talk to anyone.”
She didn’t have a clue what she was doing and what she should do next.
When Sampath saw Satheesh sitting alone, she recalled a moment in sixth grade, to when she was the one sitting alone and Satheesh had come to her rescue. Her so-called friend group had decided that she was to sit by herself for two weeks to give them enough time to make the decision of whether she could stay in the group or not. She was to sit alone and so she did.
“[Satheesh] came up to me and she sat next to me for two weeks when I had to sit alone,” Sampath said. “I think because of that, I came up to her two years later and sat next to her when she was alone in a hard time.”
When Sampath and eventually Pennec came to sit next to Satheesh, they were able to guide her through the month and get her back on her feet.
“They helped me through a time I probably don’t want anyone else to go through,” Satheesh said.
Finally coming together
But the incident in eighth grade was just the start to their new found alliance to help each other through rough times by listening to and understanding one another. In freshman year, even as the girls were still getting to know each other, they hung out together, although not on a regular basis.
But they finally realized how important this friendship truly was to them.
“Especially after some other event happened,” Sampath said.
The girls giggle and Satheesh throws Sampath a droll look. She continued her own sentence while smiling about their group’s inside knowledge.
“We decided to come sit together this year,” Satheesh said. “Wherever [else] we sat, we felt incomplete [without each other].”