Power Struggles

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 😀






Excitement and Fear

Last Friday, my friends and I were hanging out in our basement, bored as usual. There was a basketball game going on that night at our school, but we’ve been going to those for the last four years. We expected second semester of senior year to be filled with going to those school events, clinging on to those last moments we get to be in high school.

But we were tired. Tired of the same basketball game, the same red, brick building, tired of the same 7:15 to 2:30 schedule. We decided to drive an hour over to the University of Illinois’ campus for the sake of doing something different.

In all honesty, it was a pretty mundane college campus night, but we still had a ton of fun. Going around to weird, hipster-esque restaurants and hanging out and chatting with friends in a dorm room. We got to live the college life for a couple hours on a Friday night (minus the partying but I’m pretty sure that’s overrated anyway).

In reality, I just got to see the surface of the college experience; I only saw it from the “grass is greener” perspective. I know it’s a fake perception to assume that I’ll be hanging out with my closest friends every night on campus. The further I go along into senior year, the reality of college shifts from my escape from  high school to the reality of being alone. It scares me to think that my closest friends, who I’ve known for the last four years, will be hundreds, if not over a thousand miles away from me. I won’t come home to my family every single day. And the thousands of people surrounding me will literally be strangers. I know I won’t miss the basketball games, I won’t miss the red, brick building, and I won’t miss the 7:15 to 2:30 schedule. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to leave high school behind and start my new life. I’m going to miss the people. I’m going to miss my best friends who were strangers to me on my first day of freshmen year, the teachers who’ve helped shape me as a person as much as an academic, and my family who I’ve seen practically every single day since I was born.

In lieu of all that, I’m still very excited. I’m ready to meet new people. I want to explore almost every subject, from chemistry to philosophy, and be taught by some of the smartest people on the planet. I want to find my place and interests as a person alongside thousands of other students beside me.

I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned from the last four years is that every great experience has a rocky start and a sad ending. And I know I’ll be incredibly sad when the reality of change hits me, but until then, I’ll just take it one, long, grueling, fun 7:15 to 2:30 day at a time.


Hi, I’m Vivek Bhookya. I’ve had my fair share of experiences, a handful of failures, and an alright amount of successes. Passions of mine include writing, Yu-Gi-Oh, and interacting with others. Understanding the world, and the behaviors of those who reside in it, is a series of thoughts which consume the majority of my time. The presence of one particular gesture I have trouble understanding is the need for formalities.

“Hi, I’m… I’m in the 12th grade… I like… My friends call me…”

When engaging in particular activities, such as having to make an important decision, context can be helpful for gaining an understanding of your situation. A preconceived notion can be the difference between a happy story, or an unpleasant memory. In the context of meeting new people, however,

Preconceived notions can limit the potential to understand the other person.

Physical characteristics, personal opinion, secondhand knowledge of the other person passed by mouth, these qualities and more may either encourage or discourage your desire to explore other personalities. Shared interests, common hobbies, favorite colors, these attributes and more can encourage the formation of a new relationship, a new bond. The lack of mutuality, the absence of similarity, having no desire to meet another is as common as having the desire to meet another. The inspiration to seek understandings of other beings is almost always necessary to begin an interaction, and these interactions are almost always necessary to begin to understand whom it is one may deal with. Sadly, these interactions are sometimes only



“Hi! Good morning! I like your outfit! How is your family doing, do you have any plans for the holidays? Say, it was nice catching up with you, but I have to go! Goodbye!”

A small conversation may seem to adequately maintain or develop a relationship. A small conversation is only good for pleasure in the present. In a series of questions as above, not much is learned about the other individual, except the conditions of his or her current life. Information about a family was shared, a compliment was given, the participants in this conversation may have left this exchange with positive feelings.

“It was nice catching up with Firstname Lastname today. S/He really had an interest in my affairs, I’m glad s/he cares about me, what a good friend!”

In my experience, a conversation of this pattern is what is made as a gesture, a sign of association, a formality.

These formalities don’t represent one’s true intentions. These formalities don’t provide much of a window into one’s experiences. These formalities are simply reminders of a relationship, acting in the same manner as a filler scene in a television show.

That’s just my opinion, though. There is no right or wrong to the usage or presence of formal behaviors, and I won’t enforce the understanding of anything. My experiences have led me to form these conclusions, and my experiences are what I would like to share with you all through this blog.