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A city of Cinderellas

Sourav at Sourav’s

'Dada aschen' That was the most frequently-asked question on New Year's Eve, at least at Sourav's: The Food Pavilion.

The man of the moment arrived with wife Dona, daughter Sana, brother Snehashis Ganguly and sister-in-law Mom, close to 11 pm.

In a dark embroidered kurti and light trousers, Sourav Ganguly looked cool and casual on the last night of a turbulent year.

As soon as the Prince of Calcutta settled down in Prince of Cal (PoC), the disc on the fourth floor, his fans descended on him ' to ask for autographs, to congratulate him on his 'comeback' and to wish him all the best for Pakistan.

Before getting into party groove, Team Sourav dug into dinner at Over Boundary, with a spread of Mutton Biryani, Chicken Mumtaz, Makhmali Kebab, Paneer Tikka and Dal Maharaj.

The action shifted back to PoC at the stroke of midnight. Sourav lounged around, wishing family, friends and fans 'a very happy new year', but steering clear of the dance floor.

Call of the clubs

Relaxed revelry was the mood at the leading clubs of Calcutta, the places to be seen at on New Year's Eve.

From the age-old charm of Calcutta Club to the new-age appeal of Space Circle, from the musical magic of Saturday Club to the cool quotient of CC&FC, from the groovy greens of RCGC to the Tushqa effect at Tollygunge Club and the beats-and-breakfast at DI...

The footfall figure at each of the last-night late-night parties crossed the 1,500 mark at midnight.

The disc draw

The crowd profile may have been a bit different but that did not translate into vacant floor space, as Cuban dancers at Tantra and the Brazilian belly-dancers at B.E.D sent the midnight Celsius soaring, and the combined footfall well over the 1,000 mark.

If this was the New Year's Eve of private parties, big and small, there was no doubting which was the biggest of 'em all: Nalban Boating Complex, where it was Midnight in Morocco.

As many as 2,500 party people crowded the sprawl, punctuated with food, drinks and light-bite stalls. The midnight moment was marked by crackers and sparklers.

Bite and brew

Unlike any other night, when it's just down to the five stars and the dhabas for a midnight meal, thousands in Calcutta ushered in 2006 at the dinner or the coffee table.

If Tamarind on Sarat Bose Road was open till 2 am, Mainland China and Oh! Calcutta served it up till 3 am. The Barista chain was up till late, but the Caf' Coffee Day outlet on Park Street was the GenX kingdom, keeping it brewing till 5 am.

Ray of delight

New Year dawned to the songs of Goopy and the drum roll of Bagha at Rabindra Sadan, as youngsters and their parents flocked to Natyasapnakalpa, arranged by Anya Theatre.

The theme this December 31 was Upendrakishore Roychowdhury, Sukumar Ray and Satyajit Ray.

Minutes before midnight, a 1,000-plus audience was watching Anukul, Satyajit Ray's bittersweet sci-fi adapted into a play by Ramaprasad Banik.

Songs done, the audience returned to their seats and Ishita Mukhopadhyay's version of Sukumar Ray's Orpheus. The stage shows went on till 6 am.

Screen big...

At midnight, when the eight INOX screens went blank to wish the night-show audience a Happy New Year, the crowd count at Forum was 974 (Shikhar, Ek Ajnabee, Bluffmaster! and Apaharan) and 971 at City Centre (Shikhar, Dosti ' Friends Forever, Bluffmaster! and Vaah! Life Ho To Aisi).

and home...

For those not venturing out of home and yet glued to the screen, it was Bollywood, more Bollywood, and just a dash of Tollywood. According to data provided by viewership ratings measurement agency aMap, Zee TV was the most-watched national channel and Akash Bangla the top regional channel 'between 10.30 pm and 2 am'.

On Zee TV, the New Year highlight was Let's Rock, starring Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra and Saif Ali Khan. On Akash, it was a mix of Bolly and Tolly stars, with the screening of the BFJA awards, held in the city last week. The next national preference for Calcuttans was Sahara One, which also had a touch of Bollywood with the crowning of the Indian Diva (Kareena Kapoor).

Business as usual

It was just another night for Bengal's BPO brigade ' okay, not quite. When '05 crept into '06, most 24x7 IT and ITES offices, especially in the Sector V belt, were at full attendance. But there was at least some hint of a Happy New Year ahead, with freebies and a special feast marking midnight at most workstations.

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