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VIVA friendship!

Make new friends, but keep the old

One is silver and the other is gold

WHAT BETTER way to define the bond of friendship!

The Westerners had long ago realised the significance of a long-standing friendship. Perhaps, that is why they accorded a day - `Friendship Day'- especially for friends.

In 1935, the United States (U.S.) Congress proclaimed the first Sunday of August every year as the `Friendship Day'.

Celebration

The idea of celebrating `Friendship Day' has caught on with today's generation, especially with similar Western concepts gaining wide acceptance.

Even celebrities, not wanting to be left behind, are jumping onto the friendship bandwagon.

Says Achu Chandy, political activist and franchisee manager of Reliance: "Back in college, we used to have a blast on `Friendship Day'. We used to organise contests in which friends participated in pairs and won prizes."

Party time

And this year, Achu has taken time off her busy schedule to attend a cyber party organised by her company to celebrate the day. Achu also plans to send a couple of e-mail messages to her friends, just to tell them how much they mean to her.

"In school, we used to exchange friendship bands. We went out as a group and enjoyed the evening, ate out and had lots of fun," says Jyotsna, playback singer.

This year, Jyotsna wants to spend the day with one of her best pals, Sreedevi, undergraduate student at a college in Thrissur.

"If possible, we will meet up somewhere and exchange friendship bands like old times," she says.

VIVA friendship!

Cards and gifts

Actress Navya Nair recalls the `Friendship Days' she celebrated at school. "We used to give cards and gifts to our friends. Those were the days when friendship bands were very popular. As I was the school leader, I used to receive many such bands."

Now at home for a short break before the next film shoot, Navya plans to celebrate `Friendship Day' with actresses Nithya Das and Geethu Mohandas. "I've already bought gifts for them. I'll definitely send cards and messages to my school friends," she adds.

But there are also a few of them who where, till recently, quite unaware of the significance of the day.

VIVA friendship!

Says Siddharthan, the new heartthrob of Malayalam films: "Though I knew about `Friendship Day' while at school, this is the first time I'm getting to celebrate it, and I want to make the most of the day."

He is planning to have a gala time with his actor friends such as Vinod Vijayan, Dinesh and Nishant Sagar. "I will be in Kochi, partying the whole day," he says.

For Rimi Tomy, playback singer and TV anchor, the day was never special. "I used to send messages and cards to my friends. But I have never given undue importance to the day," she says.

There are some youngsters who had never heard about `Friendship Day' until recently. Says singer Balabhaskar: "I don't remember anyone in my school or college celebrating `Friendship Day'. But this year, I plan to spend the day with my wife. I will be rehearsing with my band, all of whom are my classmates. We plan to have as much fun as time permits."

VIVA friendship!

American culture

Archana, a popular TV artiste, pooh-poohs the whole idea of celebrating `Friendship Day'. "Do we need a particular day to love our friends and think of them? Aren't we blindly embracing the American culture when have a rich Indian heritage?" she asks. All this hype-and-hoopla, says Archana, have been started only to increase the sales of greeting cards. "Shops make the most of such celebrations and this is exactly the idea behind all this `Friendship Day' hungama," she says.

On `Friendship Day', Archana plans to visit the father of her friend who has been hospitalised. "All my friends will be there and I can catch up with them," she says.

Viva friendship!

AMBIKA VARMA

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