Brother/best friend/role model/mentor/parent/wedding planner of the groom, however routinely confused as his father. The groom has yet to really carry his weight in contributing to this relationship, but in spite of that, the common last name has kept their relationship 29 years strong. Luckily for them, both their NFL teams suck, and all athletic ability went to the 3rd Bagai, so they’ve gotten along pretty smoothly all their lives.
The groom’s true “rival” in life, however a rivalry by name only because Anuj has yet to beat him in any physical competition, whether it’s a basketball court, a golf course, the dance floor, beat boxing, or even good looks. Nonetheless, they FaceTime each other at an alarmingly high rate, especially if it means they can ignore their significant others. They are able to talk about everything under the sun for hours especially sports, Akhil’s most recent Limca game, or Akhil’s ability to steal a dance floor doing the exact same move every time. For as much as they can’t stand each other, they equally love each other.
The groom’s work wife. Anuj introduces him as his younger brother even though he is actually older. He’s a professional at putting up with Anuj’s shenanigans at work so Shruthi doesn’t have to. They are a great example that proves best friends can work together, but even they will admit, sometimes they need a nice healthy break from each other, especially when Vishal acts like Anuj’s superior (which he needs to be reminded he is not). They have flown together more than with their better halves, which is either very impressive or just a sad statistic.
Anuj 2.0. Upon moving to Blacksburg, the groom found out he had an older twin who was less athletic and less attractive than him. Enter Nithin. Their similarities grew deep over years of battles in 2k, Madden, singing of Hindi songs, and trying to figure out why all DC sports suck every year, with the tears flowing whenever someone mentioned the Wizards. Nithin ultimately decided to move to Chicago, go to Booth, and work at BCG to finally distance himself from Anuj’s shadow. Their roots still remain so strong that he started a basketball podcast, Thik n Thin, just so Anuj could hear his voice every week.
The groom’s fantasy football protege. Shashi was just a simple Saints fan when he met Anuj, but for years they have had weekly consults on fantasy football lineups. Those have led to large amounts of success for the both of them (with some disappointments along the way). Their relationship is pure business when it comes to deciding on best add/drops to their teams for the week. Anuj would be remiss to not mention that Shashi is still a top 2 partyer in Anuj’s life, and he’s not 2. Partying with Shashi is like still being in college, when both of them seem to forget that they are far from it.
The only friend who the groom looks up to as an older brother. He keeps Anuj up to date on all important news information outside the world of sports and is the self-proclaimed “Bollywood GOAT”. Rush has given Anuj advice countless times, especially when it comes to fashion (the proposal outfit had to get the Rushang stamp of approval), while Anuj would prefer to just throw on a VT polo and basketball shorts before heading to the clubs. He takes care of Anuj when he has had a little too much fun at night, and never hesitates to offer Anuj his couch and a nice breakfast before leaving the next morning. He truly is the happiest that Anuj is now Shruthi’s problem, not his.
Forced the groom to fake propose to Shruthi. Arash and Anuj have agonized over Redskins football for almost a decade now. In that time, while the team has only seen downs, their friendship has only experienced ups. Their claim to fame is when in college, Anuj innocently asked Arash to cut his hair. After looking more like Arash than he wanted to, Anuj decided that that was a terrible idea. Arash’s influence in Anuj’s life has changed with Arash’s educational pursuits. Initially Arash would be the one to force Anuj to party against his own will, but now after becoming a successful married patent attorney in DC, he will tell Anuj to get to bed at 9 PM every night. They have become so comfortable with each other that Arash asked Anuj to fake propose to Shruthi as a ruse for his own proposal 10 months before Anuj had decided that he was ready to. Luckily it all worked out.
The groom’s first Guju friend. When Anand first met Anuj, he was a nice, vegetarian Gujarati boy just looking to settle down spending his days doing Garba. Fast forward 11 years and now he eats meat, is happily married, is on the brink of running Amazon, and lives outside New York City, but still has yet to thank Anuj for all his positive influence in his life. Anand is like the son Anuj never thought he had. While geographical distances have played a factor in their friendship, they are able to pick up where they left off at the blink of an eye whenever they see each other.
The groom’s longest relationship. Between Star Wars, work advice, life advice, relationship advice, the Redskins, and Star Wars again, these two are true soulmates. They have spent the better part of the last 4 years as roommates when Anuj and Shahzaib would come over to Shahrukh’s house, enter the garage code, and forget to tell Shahrukh they are coming. From being the last phone call some nights to the first phone call the next day, there is nothing Shahrukh and Anuj haven’t gone through together that hasn’t prepped him for his life with Shruthi. Good luck to her to catch up to them.
This friendship has tried to practice good life habits but have ultimately been unsuccessful. Jason has unsuccessfully taught the groom proper Kerala traditions to help prepare him for a life with Shruthi. Jason has unsuccessfully tried to get the groom to go to the gym, instead visiting places like Sakura, Sweetwater, a nice steakhouse, or most often, Shahrukh’s house. Their friendship started when Jason took him under his wing as a freshman in high school and has never looked back even though now Jason has been taken under Anuj’s wing. No two people in this world can verbally abuse each other as much as these two have one minute, and then have each other’s back the next minute.
The groom’s obligatory boy. Adit has gone through quite the lengths to distance himself from Anuj (for good reason) in hopes to become a successful doctor. Regardless of the time that passes between visits with the two of them, they generally make poor decisions whenever they meet up. Whether it is going to IHOP after a night out at 5 am when any sane person would go to sleep, or staying up after a wedding after party trying to find food, Adit’s love for any excuse to hang out and Anuj’s huge amounts of FOMO and love for Adit has always kept them together.