There is something about my women friends that I will never be able to find in another man. Not even in the so-called 'special someone' in my life. To quickly allay frivolous doubts about my sexual orientation - I am heterosexual.
Yet I haven't found sweeter joy and greater fun than being around the women in my life ever since I remember myself as a little girl.
At school, we were all united against the rowdy and boisterous boys. As teenagers we loved sharing our Nancy Drews and Mills and Boons and endlessly chatted about beauty queens and contests. We thoroughly relished gossiping about the latest stories of crushes and love affairs doing the rounds in our neighbourhood and at school, while secretly admiring one of the boys ourselves until it was impossible to not blurt out about our most intimate feelings to one of the girls.
It was sheer joy and succour to be listened to so generously and unquestioningly when any other person having the same knowledge would have been blasphemous.
With the beginning of college, came new friends into my life. There were as many men as women in my circle of friends, but my friendship with the latter would last for a long time to come.
Maybe because we make more efforts to stay in touch than men, who I figured much later, would most of the time keep a contact only for a reason.
Post-college days were hectic with career being the main focus of our lives. Yet, a few of my closest friends occasionally sent me letters and e-mails just to know how I was doing, besides sharing their own highs and lows in their lives.
There never was any excuse of being 'too busy' when I needed to talk to them.
They almost always listened to me. They knew it all too well that that's all they had to do to make me feel better. No solutions, no suggestions, just plain and simple empathetic listening. I did not only feel better but also immensely grateful to them for being around during the worst of my times.
After having relocated to a bigger city in search of greener pastures, I met another set of interesting women who gradually became my close friends. All of us belonged to different parts of the country with varying cultural and family backgrounds, but we all shared the same zest and energy for life.
Each one of us was different in our own ways but we shared, laughed, joked, fought and cried together. They say women are complicated, sentimental and moody. This might not always be true, but we instantly knew when one of us behaved so.
We accepted one other with all our faults and eccentricities, which only strengthened our bond. We also openly disagreed on various issues and had our share of conflicts of interests very often, but it is also true that we are easily compassionate and forgiving.
With the beginning of our professional careers, a few of my friends and I started living together. It was a roller coaster ride with every one of us finally starting to earn our own money and at the same time having to face together the vagaries of living in a cold and an unfriendly city.
Having had to manage our individual careers, household chores and personal relationships, there was not a single dull moment. Besides room rents and electricity bills, we shared every little details of our day to day lives with one another including family, career and finance related issues; relationships (read men) almost always took the centre stage.
In front of other people, including our family members, we would closely guard our vulnerable selves, but within the group we happily let our guards down. We discussed about our private lives and shared our deepest secrets. We almost intuitively and accurately figured out where everyone else's relationship was heading, except of course our own.
We had an innate capability of identifying who was genuine in their intentions and who was not. No man, even those with minor businesses in our lives, could escape the psychological dissection that we did of him. We almost instantly tore apart anyone who we felt was causing us hurt.
We didn't need an agony aunt or a psychiatric consulting when it came to fixing bad relationships. We were good enough for one another. We have many a times condemned obnoxious and good-for-nothing boyfriends, celebrated beautiful relationships and comforted and stood up for one another when one ended.
We also knew when to give each other breathing spaces although there was not much need of it anyways.
There is something about these women in my life who have always stood by me and understood me. Every moment of our togetherness has been a celebration of friendship, womanhood and life in its varied hues.
This bonding that we have developed with one another is something that we all have come to highly cherish over time. We know it at the back of our minds that there will be times in our lives in the future when we might have none but one another to turn to.
Our bonding has had and still has a child-like yet matured quality - fun, free of egotism, compassionate and forgiving.
And last but not the least, we always had and will continue to have one common denominator for good or for bad - the men in our lives, who can never be like us or understand us the way we are.