After a while, sitting around in a bar drinking wine and gossiping about exes and other women can get boring and repetitive, no matter how glamorous Sex And The City makes it look. If you've reached saturation point, here are 9 cool and somewhat geeky ideas for a fun night with the girls.
1. Make a pact to talk about anything other than your partners
We spend so much time, energy and real estate in our brains thinking about our partners, why they do what they do, why they didn't do what they said they'd do and what they mean by what they said. Take one night off from your relationship drama. Make a pact with your girls that for that one night, no one is going to bring up their boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. Discuss anything — the startup idea you've been obsessed with, the next season of Game of Thrones/ Sherlock/ Black Mirror, Mumbai's potholes, the CyberHub bars that will be affected by the Supreme Court liquor ban, the UP elections or Donald Trump's latest Twitter meltdown and JK Rowling's sick burns every time he does. In the course of the night, you'll be surprised by the things you find yourself saying — half-formed thoughts you never got around to articulating because you were too busy to make time for yourself — and the confidences you end up sharing.
2. Go on a long drive together
Why are long drives reserved for romantic partners? Pile your besties into a car and go on a night-long drive. It's high time that Sunny Da Dhaba off the Mumbai-Pune highway and Murthal on the Delhi-Chandigarh highway be treated to an unabashed girl gang. (Do carry several cans of pepper spray and a hockey bat or two, just in case, though.)
3. Get geeky with books
Any book lover is madly possessive about their books. But hopefully, you can at least trust your best friends with them. Have a geeky girls' night where you sit around discussing and trading books while getting drunk. I have this ritual with a few friends — since we love the same kind of literature, we make little notes in the margins, attach post-its with our thoughts or underline phrases or words that jump out at us. It's a great start to close reading and might inadvertently make you interpret a text in a way you never imagined. Now try reading 4-5 different tiny kinds of tiny scrawls while you're half drunk. It's incredibly geeky and satisfying. Try.
4. Make a dance video
There is very little that's more delightful than women dancing with abandon and having the time of their lives. In May last year, three girls made a video of them dancing to Sia's Cheap Thrills on the beach. In the last nine months, the video has garnered over 14 million views. Since then, dozens of women have posted Youtube videos of themselves doing Bharatnatyam to Cheap Thrills.
5. Learn some phrases in an unusual Indian dialect
How cool would it be if you and your girls had a secret language that very few people understood? To get you started, here are a couple of my favourite Kashmiri phrases — pya buth vasith, which roughly means, "May your face fall down", and mand cha van kath, which is "Embarrassing goat" in Kashmiri. Imagine how many things you can get away with saying in public, when no one but the intended audience understands the language.
6. Go for a midnight buffet to a fancy restaurant
You don't have to save the best restaurants for dates. Dress up to the nines and take each other out for a meal at a really classy restaurant. If you're not in the mood to splurge on a la carte at a hideously expensive five or seven-star hotel, go for their midnight buffet. It's a great deal more value for money because when you're with your girls, you don't have to worry about looking like a glutton; indulge in second, third and fourth helpings with abandon. The midnight buffets at The Bayview and The Square in Mumbai, Zu Tisch, Kylin Premier and The Pavilion in Delhi, JW Marriott in Bengaluru and Waterside Cafe in Kolkata are totally worthy of a girls' night out.
7. Stay in and play video games
There's no such thing as a non-gaming person, there are only people who haven't found their video game yet. Dedicate a girls' night to video gaming. And yes, Tetris is as much of a video game and just as competitive as The Elder Scrolls series. Spend a night guzzling beer and whooping your girl-friends' asses. Who knows, maybe without the haters who are constantly trying to ridicule or taunt girls who play, you might warm up to a genre you hadn't tried. What can be cooler than being a close friend's gaming soul sister as well?
8. Do a photo shoot
If you're as sick as I am of hearing sexist drivel about women and their duck-faced selfies, this one might offer you some grim satisfaction. Round up the talent within your group and put together a feminist photo shoot like this one or this one or this really, really daring one. Between our tone-deaf politicians, babas, yogis, panchayats and self-styled religious gurus, there is no dearth of seriously offensive and misogynistic public statements about women in India.
9. Go bowling
Remember how much fun it used to be in college? Most of us stopped going to bowling alleys. Order bucketfuls of French fries and burn off the calories with endless games of bowling. Every group has that one girlfriend who can't help but be super competitive at the slightest mention of a score; she's the one who will turn a friendly-but-dull bowling game into an adrenaline-filled warzone. If you have such a friend, definitely go bowling. Head to Amoeba or Smaash in Mumbai, BluO or Every Other Day in Delhi and Blue Moustache in Bangalore.