I never had "one" "single" best friend throughout school, college and work-life. I used to fit people in my ring of concentric circles. The outermost circle being acquaintances aka the "hi-hello" friends, The next inner circle was made of people somewhat closer than the acquaintances - people whom I shared some common interest with and hung out once in a while. The next inner circle being "close" friends - who knew my secrets, with whom I could be my self and hung out most of the time. The innermost or core of this ring of circles was never occupied by a friend - not because I couldn't find someone to fit in there. It was because I already had someone who couldn't be replaced - my sister.
She has been there for me from as far as I can think of. My earliest memory of this goes back to when I was 5 or maybe 6 years old. I used to be afraid of the dark. One day while we were playing hide and seek - it was my turn to hide. I went into the corner of the farthermost room in our colonial style army bungalow and hid myself behind a huge trunk. My parents were sitting outside on the terrace sipping their evening tea. Suddenly the lights went out and I panicked. My sister who by-the-way was 3 or 4 years old that time ran into the house. My dad followed her into the house, worried that she might hurt herself in the dark. But she was quick, she looked into all the rooms and found me crouching behind that trunk, eyes shut and ears closed. She sat down next to me and hugged me saying "Didi OK". I am not afraid of the dark any longer but this incident will stay with me forever.
Whenever I have been down and out through college - I was in a hostel during my engineering days - she was one person who could cheer me up and bring me back to my exuberant self. She just knows which buttons to trigger.
She has excused and ignored my shortcomings. She sometimes does not agree with what I say or do. And she has voiced her opinion in those cases. But she has the maturity to understand that it is OK for us to have separate opinions and ways of doing things. We can stay together and yet have our own space. We share common interests - going out, watching movies, eating and window shopping. She is my stress buster, my unpaid babysitter, my masseur (she is so good at a pain relieving massage along the back bone and shoulders), my 3 am pillow talk person, my confidante and my partner-in-crime. My sister - my best friend!