I think the one unconditional love that will always remain is the love I have for my family. Culture certainly plays a huge part in that love.
On February 22nd, the QMUL Tamil Society held a Galentine's Day event where students enjoyed fun games, activities, music and more! This event also featured several Tamil female-owned small businesses. These businesses ranged from henna to traditional silks and custom art.
The wonderful ladies featured in this event shared with us their thoughts on Valentine’s Day, Tamil culture and supporting entrepreneurial women.
Find our interviews below:
Thirisha and Saranya (left to right)
Saranya: “The Galentine’s event organised by QM’s Tamil Society was an amazing opportunity for women led business to come forward and showcase their products to us. They were all extremely nice and are so talented at what they do! I am so glad that as a Tamil student I had the chance to attend such an event as this gives hope to anyone who is interested in starting up a business.
Being a part of the Tamil community helps me learn more about the culture from everyone as well as bonding and making new Tamil friends as I hadn’t grown up with many of them. I found myself to have grown so much within this year of being part of a society that represents me!!”
Thirisha: “Coming from a place where you knew everything to a whole new world full of exciting opportunities can be daunting! Having Tamil Society there to guide us and give us advice, made me feel like I was in a safe space and in safe hands. Also, coming from an area that was not as diverse as QM, it was really lovely to see how welcoming Tamil Society was, even to us freshers!
QM’s Tamil Society’s genius idea to hold a Galentine's event was so beneficial in catalysing progress within the community. When talking about certain topics such as love, relationships, work and education, girls especially, often feel stigmatised within the Tamil community. However, through events like this we can encourage them to open up and voice their opinions and thoughts, so they feel like they are not alone.”
Thibika and Theebhanaa (left to right)
Thibika and Theebhana: “Our small business @twin.artistry is where we create customised paintings and cards. We started our business to display our hobby, to show people our interest and our work and to showcase our talent. We also hope to encourage more young entrepreneurs to open their own business and to showcase their talent to the world.”
Sobinya and Sangavi
Sobinya: “Henna is something I get done for special occasions from weddings to religious occasions like Diwali! Growing up as a Tamil woman I feel blessed to be in a culture that speaks the oldest language in the world where there are 247 letters in the alphabet. Also getting to enjoy various foods ranging from mutton rolls to dosa is just amazing.”
Sangavi: “I got henna done because the designs all look pretty and I don’t often wear it, so it was a good opportunity to do so. I’m involved in Tamil society so that I can make more friends and meet more people who come from the same cultural background as me. It also allows me to socialise with others and improve my Tamil.”
Sharanya, Priyanka and Harrisha (left to right)
Harrisha: “Being Tamil and growing up in a western society I didn’t really embrace it as much as I wished I did because there were not many people like me around or in the media. Growing up, not many people knew what Tamil was. It felt more like I had to fit in than stand out.
The only time I did embrace my culture was with my family. My grandparents were my little dose of culture when they came to visit us when I was a kid. My grandmother has especially been this for me and really been my only inspiration growing up because I would see her truly embrace being a Tamil woman.
As we progress, we are now seeing more Brown representation on TV shows and on social media and as more and more people embrace being Tamil it made me want to be more open about it. I feel most myself when I embrace my culture as it makes me who I am.”
Priyanka: “Galentine’s was such a fun event as I got to meet up with my girls and meet new girls that were just full of good vibes and had such lovely energy, I loved it so much!”
Ambrita and Midunaa (left to right)
Midunaa: “Let’s just say Valentine’s is probably the last word you want to say in a South Asian household, however I do feel like our parents' generation is starting to become more lenient with topics such as falling in love or drinking alcohol, which wasn’t quite accepted in their time.
Without a doubt I’ve fallen in love with people, and placed myself in situations I probably shouldn’t have, but I think the one unconditional love that will always remain is the love I have for my family. It’s something as I grow older, I’ve learned to cherish.
Culture certainly plays a huge part in that love. I’m forever grateful to my parents for making me participate in cultural activities such as going to Tamil school, learning Bharatanatyam (South Indian classical dance) and Sangeetham (Carnatic lessons), as well as embracing the history of my Tamil culture.”
To find out more about the QM Tamil Society see here: https://www.qmsu.org/groups/6911/