Some will share closely-guarded secrets, others might open up about their messed-up love lives or their single status. Those who are in the life-is-not-going-anywhere mode might just chill. Who knows, some may firm up plans to dump their boyfriends and move on. In any case, gossip will be the order of the day. And no, boys are strictly not allowed! It’s Galentine’s Day!
From short vacays to just bonding over dinner or partying the night away, ‘womance’ will be in the air on February the 13th — Galantines Day – when girl gangs will do a Carrie-Miranda-Samantha-Charlotte from Sex and the City or maybe what Kareena Kapoor did in the chick flick Veere de Wedding!
Galentine’s Day, as the name suggests, is a celebration of female friendship, that most common and yet most unremarked-upon of things. The term was popularised following the release of a 2010 episode of US sitcom Parks and Recreation. It has gained traction in recent years, with an increasing number of women, both single and in relationships, using the occasion to acknowledge the strength of their bonds with other women. These women are not only confident and secure about themselves, but also in awe of others’ success.
They’re very vocal when it comes to showering each other with praise.
The perfect example of girl power is the ‘lady bureaucrats gang’ of Smita Sabharwal, Secretary to the Telangana Chief Minister, Priyanka Varghese, IFS OSD to the Chief Minister, Dr. Christina Z.Chongthu, Commissioner, Tribal Welfare and Neetu Kumari Prasad, Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Telangana. Like all close friends, they are there for each other in good times and bad. And this girl gang has an additional reason to celebrate this season – February 14 is Neetu Prasad’s birthday.
“Irrespective of its place of origin, women all over the world celebrate female friendship on this day and display love and affection for their BFFs,” says Neetu Prasad. Noting that her large circle of friends comprises mostly women, she explains that, “The comfort which I derive from these female friends is amazing as we understand and connect to each other at a deep level, maybe because the issues we face in our professional and personal lives are similar in nature, which men can’t appreciate much.”
“Female friends are patient, good listeners and not interested in ‘fixing the problems’. Sisterhood gives the wherewithal to stand against archaic societal rules and live life with the dignity which is everyone’s due – be it single women, widows, divorcees, single mothers or any woman who has charted her own path through numerous struggles,” Neetu says. The bond is also special “because many ‘girlie’ topics are out-of-bounds for male friends, be it fashion, skin care or just juicy gossip.”
Of women, by women
“I am not much of a Valentine’s Day person so Galentine’s Day is an awakening for women who are being respected and coming to the fore,” says Aarti Gupta Surendranath, who produces web shows and advertisements, and is an animal rights activist and environmentalist as well.
“I feel blessed that I have a wonderful set of girlfriends I can reach out to at any time. I have known most of my girlfriends from childhood and though we haven’t met in years, I can connect with them anytime,” she says. “It is also wonderful for gay and LGBT people, as this is a day they can celebrate with the heads held high, something that was very covert all these years,” Aarti notes.
BFFs before Beaus
February 14th may be for romance, but February 13th is for girl talk and giggles. Says Yamini Reddy, a Kuchipudi exponent, “Women’s friendship is special, it incorporates a bond of love and care for each other. It is therapeutic and cathartic. It withstands life’s many ups and downs. And it’s always best friends before beaus — that’s why Galentine’s Day comes before Valentine’s Day.”
A beau is no doubt special, but, let’s admit it, girlfriends are extra special.
“Galentine’s Day is a fun way to express to your closest girlfriends how special they are. Although with most of my female friends every day feels like Galentine’s Day and I can count on my girls to be there for me whenever I need them, irrespective of time or geography,” says Mallika Reddy, entrepreneur.
“Having a female friend with whom you can share your life in a very special kind of way is a blessing. One cannot compare the value of such a friendship to a love relationship. It is pure, it is fun, and it is true to the core, with no expectations, unlike in a love relationship where there is always baggage,” says Nupur Kundu, Visual Artist & Art Educator. “I value my relationship with Nin, who is a pure soul and has been a partner for many years. Being an artist myself, we complement each other,” she adds.
Talking about another renowned artist, she says, “I also deeply value my relationship with my mentor and guide Anjolie Ela Menon, who is not only a great inspiration but also a strong woman who makes you stronger with her learning of life and experience! We have inspiring conversations whenever we catch up for our girly lunches. It is amazing how at her age she connects with anyone of any age. I always feel enriched by her art and feel blessed to have connected with her in my life!”
Girls “want to celebrate everyone they care about, not just their significant other. In these busy times, if you have special days to remind you of special relationships, either with a friend or the love of your life, why not take a moment out of your hectic schedule to spend that time with each other?” sums up Vandana Badruka, entrepreneur.