12 shades of brown.
Honestly, pretty good wordplay if you ask me. 12 Indian guys, each with their own story to share, voice to be heard. Each of us, if categorized as a crayon, makes perfect sense as our own shade, but would make for a hilariously ugly set of crayons. The only aspect of that name I don’t see connecting to our group would be the movie itself. 12 heterosexual males (11 excluding the shroud of uncertainty around Lokesh’s sexual preference) don’t have a strong connection to that type of movie.
No, I’m not hinting at changing from a blog to Bonafide Hustler coloring book, so don’t get your hopes up; Something that would have changed, though, is the name of the blog. Bonafide Grade hustlers could have been 12 shades of brown, if I had been able to persuade the majority (In a small voting session, I got hilariously outvoted 5 to 1). TBH, Bonafide Grade Hustlers makes for a mysterious group name which helped make the first blog post that much more interesting, and it avoids ties to a pretty terrible movie.
Since most of my ideas don’t involve 50 shades of grey, they’re usually well liked. Also, I’m a pretty smart guy, I get good grades and I get on everyone’s good side. So, when it comes to intellectual conversations, I’m pretty solid. But when it comes to social ideas or activities, my voice means little to nothing to them. Don’t get me wrong, these guys see me as a great role model, but also as the guy who’s probably not going to get laid till he’s 40. It’s not that I haven’t tried, my luck parallels Roy Sullivan’s. He has been struck with lightning a couple times, i’ve struck out a few times. Same difference.
This problem that i’ve been having hasn’t always been the case. I remember the good old days. Back in our neighborhood playing cricket in my kick the can in my cul-de-sac or football in front of Tejas’s house. Things were simpler back then. I was the oldest, so I basically decided everything. Tejas wanted soccer, Ganesh wanted basketball? I’d be the tie breaker. Rahul wanted to play cod on his shitty wii and lokesh wanted to play on his trampoline? We’d would probably end up playing football anyway. It wasn’t all enjoyable decisions though. Almost every other type of conflict came to me as well. Tejas making fun of Vetri? I broke it up. Tejas making fun of Rishav? I stepped in. Tejas making fun of some other little kid (who probably deserved it) I would also have to break it up.
This was the life. Leading a small group of kids through life. Bliss in the form of 5 brown children lasted through my freshman year I believe. This is when it got a little more complicated. When tennis season rolled in, I made some new best friends: Sai^2, that’s how Sai Nethi and sai komaragiri were known to the team, Vamshi, who I met through Nethi, and Ishaan. At that point, Ishaan was pinned in my head as the kid who didn’t make jv tennis. Before this transition, all my best friends lived in eagles landing, our neighborhood. Now we I had a couple here, a couple there and Ishaan a couple miles away being the outlier he always is. Now I had more problems, should I go play tennis with the new kids or play football back home.
Given my position, I decided it was time that I brought the two groups together. This wasn’t the easiest of tasks considering the fact that the squad had grown to double digits, but as I found, talking my way to a good time wasn’t that hard. I would call up some of the guys and call them over to my place. About half would be free and comply, the other took a little more convincing. Homework was the main “reason” but it wasn’t hard to call BS because 10 geometry problems and a couple honors chem equations.
Everyone would meet in the famous cul-de-sac of eagles landing. We’d spend a good hour deciding the plans for the 10 minutes the Ganesh twins had left before they had to leave around 6 pm. Although football was our go to sport, we dabbled in cricket, basketball and a few others. I couldn’t push soccer past congress till after the world cup and soccer fever caught on. As time went on, we made a few last minute adjustments to our lineup.
Rajal – Would mostly come to basketball or hangout with up
Bada – Came for football and his forte, soccer.
Vivek – I believe I met him through an Indian function
Vishva and Shravan are two “juniors” who I saw quite often but never befriended till Nethi introduced us, at of course, football.
Suprith – I actually knew this kid long before half the group, but he went to Blooming high school and we slipped out of friendship.
Adding these 6 to the list concludes the group, bringing the total to 17 people:
Ganesh, Karthik, Ishaan, Lokesh, Bada, Rahul, Rajal, Sai Nethi, Sai Komaragiri, Suprith, Shravan, Tejas, Viraat, Vishva, Vivek, Vamshi and of course, me.
As time has gone on and our group chat has matured, we’ve all settled into our roles. We have the Alcoholics, the nerds, the middle class, and the sexually active. Your usual high school social classes. I wouldn’t say I fit into any of these categories as I am dubbed “Dad” for my services to this group lol. As if caring for these guys is something to be ashamed of.
And that’s it. The bonafide crew’s upbringing, from my highly biased point of view.
Finally I could step back and look at what we made: A well-knit team of young men, maybe? It was a good time, and all of us really grew together. I wouldn’t take all the credit, I really can’t, but I’m sure at least one of them would say that I played a decent role in the making of this group as a dad should do. As we all transition into the next stage of our lives, it becomes harder for me to rule them with an iron fist, but I do my best. And as my vote means less and less till it has the same power as a single vote, I can sit back and pass the awesome admin status to the junior, eager to screw up the group chat as hard as they can. In the end it doesn’t matter what my place in the group really is. At this point i’ve won the power struggle 😀