Old friends are like jelly moulds. You start out like a half-formed, amorphous mass of a person, and then you meet these people. These people, who, by virtue of being who they are, mould you, change you, even create you a little. Their ideas wriggle into your brain like persistent worms (okay, that's not a very cosy image, but you get the idea) and take up permanent residence. Essentially, you'll still be jelly, but you'll be part-friend-shaped jelly.
This moulding works both ways - your friends are moulded by you as well. So both of you have a set of the other's idea-worms living in your heads. I'm part N, and she's part me.
The great thing about meeting old friends, is that there's never any awkward settling-into-roles to be done - we might not have met in years but when we do, we're back to how we used to be - thrilled, at the first cold day of the year, despairing of our weight and our complexions (just me here), in tears about our sister's weddings and laughing hysterically when our (back then) befuddled notions of male anatomy were trashed by our horrified male friends.
We meet each other with friendly character-assassination -
"So bitch, how much of Delhi have you done yet?"
"Only the parts you didn't, which are few and far between, my slutty friend!"
She's still one of the rare people I'm comfortable using hindi swear-words with/on. Even if she does fall off her chair laughing at my stilted pronunciation (so I didn't grow up in Shalimar Bagh, woman! I'm still going to swear like a blue-line bus conductor...or die trying!).
That's the good part of meeting old friends.
The bad part is, that these friends were also witness to the sheer idiocy that was you. And they never fail to remind you of it. Especially when you're doing your best to shed the residual image of gauche, socially inept teenager.
Like the time when in conversation with the Kashmiri-Greek-god classmate, you piped up, "You know A, you've got such pretty eyes*. I wish I could scoop out your irises and make ear-rings out of them."
Yes. THAT'S how incredibly charming I was at eighteen. Yes, N. I remember.
Somedays I think youth is highly overrated...not true for jelly moulds though.
*To be fair, he did have beautiful-blue-green eyes...and they would've made lovely ear-rings.