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Searching For Shibu: A Must-Read Viral Thread on Finding Friends in the Digital Age

Padmini Vaidyanathan used Twitter to find her friend from almost 25 years ago. Here’s what happened next.

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Every time I go back to my parents place I spend a considerable amount of time reminiscing, looking at old photographs, and it brings back so many memories. You realise that with time you lose touch with a lot of friends.

However, a viral Twitter thread shines hope on those lost connections that some were hoping to reignite.

Padmini Vaidyanathan (@PaddyVaidy), a Twitter user, asked for some help in finding her childhood friend Shibu. In a very endearing post, she tweeted, “Searching for Shibu. He was my first friend. Or at least the first one I remember as far as concepts of friends go. We met when we were seven. We’d just moved to a govt colony in Delhi, Sarojini Nagar. C Block. Our house had a small garden. His house was on the first floor (sic).”

She goes on to beautifully describe their friendship in the Twitter thread. She tweets about the red cycle she rode and Shibu’s black cycle. Their early morning visits to the Sanjay Gandhi Park in Delhi, and the numerous hours spent playing badminton, chor police, cricket and chuppan chuppai (hide and seek). This was when a third musketeer joined their group – Ammu.

Each friend brought something unique to the table, while Padmini describes herself as the ‘impulsive and short-tempered’ friend, she attributes being responsible to Ammu and says that Shibu was the ‘introverted nerd’ (sic) of the group.

At the age of 12, Padmini’s family moved to another part of the city and as a young child, her excitement was about being given her own room in the new house. Little did she think about missing her friends in the new place.

The day before the big shift, Padmini, Ammu and Shibu went out and ate Chow Mein. While on the day of the move Ammu bid farewell to Padmini, Shibu did not. She wrote, “I’d imagined it would be the same with Shibu. But Shibu had told me the day before that he wouldn’t come down to say goodbye. So much drama for a 12 year old. But he did wave, from his window. Or was it the balcony? (sic)”

Years passed, and Padmini and Ammu stayed friends but neither kept in touch with Shibu.

A quarter century later, Padmini decided to use technology to find their friend. She put out a photograph of all of them as children and let Twitter work its magic. Within a few hours of the tweet there were leads, which all looked very promising. Replies asking, “Is this him?” flooded the viral thread that now has over 1,200 retweets and 5,000 likes.

Within 24 hours Padmini, Ammu and Shibu were reunited.

“Anddddd we found him! Thanks to all the wonderful people on Twitter, who reached out, prayed, conspired with the universe to make this happen. My heart is so full today,” Padmini wrote.

Out of the number of people who commented, some were inspired to look for their own long-lost childhood friends and others shared stories of how they found their friends thanks to social media platforms.

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Some of the heartwarming stories can be read here.

(Edited by Yoshita Rao)

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