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How I took a girls' trip with my best friends based on our favourite movies

*Insert YJHD dialogue*

“My biggest flex is that I’ve already found my best friend for life,” an image that my best friend shared with me a few days ago, read. I smiled. Widely. Very rarely do you find a friend who resonates with your vision, goals, and bucket list desires. I found two. In the midst of the Gothic pillars and arches of St Xavier’s College in Mumbai, in a myriad of hundreds of students, and at a time when being embroiled in everything drama was cool, I found two girls with infectious smiles who were grounded, kind, and as crazy as I was, or perhaps even crazier. With Sabina and Rashi, friendship was easy and effortless and came with little to no drama at all. It was ideal. But here’s the thing, we made it ideal. Together we conformed to all our notions of living life to the fullest— this meant, spontaneous dessert drives, movie nights, cute breakfast dates, getting dressed to go absolutely nowhere and best of all, an all-girls' vacation. 

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We’ve watched it all—the Disney movies, the intense films, the not-so-great ones, and nearly every coming-of-age Bollywood movie and rom-com. We’ve used dialogues from films in debates and discussions and defended our favourite characters (Read: Bunny from Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani) every step of the way. We spoke about travelling to Manali like the foursome did in the Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone starrer or Udaipur where they reconvened after eight years, and we dreamt (a little bigger) of sipping wine in satin gowns in Greece like in Mamma Mia. We spoke of travel and adventure and spontaneity in between classes, during lunch breaks and on the days that things got too much. So, one day, while we were in our first year of graduation, we simply decided to go. 

Where? To the city of lakes, palaces, and Bunny and Naina—Udaipur in Rajasthan. Very few moments could match the energy and warmth we felt on that trip. The whole trip seemed like a montage from a movie with our favourite songs constantly playing in the background. We packed our best outfits, borrowed them without asking, managed to click every waking moment and showed off our best poses. Our itinerary was planned much like Bunny’s and Naina’s—a tour of the magnificent City Palace, bargaining the best we could at the local marketplace, indulging in dal baati churma at a restaurant set amidst vintage cars, and ending the day with a boat ride across the lake—“varna yeh solid sunset miss ho jaata na?” (Else, wouldn’t we have missed out on seeing this beautiful sunset?). Our conversations ran deep and late into the night. We sat on the jade-coloured swing in the garden of our hotel, and ‘Kabira’ played softly in the background. And though I can hardly recall what we were speaking about at that time (perhaps it was the one too many glasses of wine), the moment remains a core memory of the trip and my friendship with my girls. We returned closer, happier and eager, now more than ever, to travel together. It was then that we made a pact, a promise to go on a trip every year wherever it may be. 

yjhd

By the time we entered our second year of college, we had taken numerous road trips to places not too far from the city, gotten lost during one of them, and laughed through them all. Come October, we began thinking about where we wanted to go next. Taking inspiration from Mamma Mia, though we couldn’t hop onto the next flight to Greece and start our own hotel on the little island of Kalokiri, we decided to explore the French town of Puducherry set by the sea on the southernmost tip of India. Imagine this: Large French windows with wooden frames, floral sundresses, lots of wine and tons of crepes and baguettes. Early afternoons were spent walking by the promenade and evenings cycling through the picturesque lanes of the vibrant French town. And at night, we danced away, making one half of our room the dance floor, sipped on wine with our feet in the bathtub and watched Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia

By the time we entered our final year, the pandemic hit and lockdowns were imposed. But we did manage to take a mini glamping trip to a lake a few hours away from Mumbai. It was Valentine’s weekend and just the break we needed. We hiked up to a hill and managed to catch a view of the stunning sunset, we sang along to the live band that played our favourite song, ‘Sham’ from Aisha, and sat around a campfire. Warmth, love, and light-hearted moments are words that come to my mind when I look back. In every trip that we went on or the experiences we had—we grew—to learn about each other, to understand each other, to be present during the good moods and the bad ones, and to love each other not despite the quirks but even more so because of them. 

It’s been a long time since we graduated from college and went our own ways. Today, we live across continents and time zones. We continue to fall in love with fictional characters, have virtual breakfast dates, and wine and dine nights. We dress up, we show up, whatever time it may be. The memories of our trips and time spent together are invaluable: “Woh din, woh raatein, woh hasi, woh masti, woh dosti… Bunny.” (Those days, those nights, those laughs, that fun, that friendship… Bunny) 

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Here’s to trips that feel right out of a feel-good movie.