A youngster with her Santa at New Market on Tuesday.
Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Jingle bells are ringing out loud as Calcutta gears up to party, beating downturn and dread.
The tone for the year-end festive mood was set by the annual carnival for kids at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) and Tollygunge Club. “It was our first event of the party season and we were a little tense. But it was very well-attended,” says Jaideep Gangopadhyay of RCGC. “More than 700 people came in this year, compared with 600 last year,” says K.B. Menon of Tolly Club.
With the clubs showing the way yet again, in association with The Telegraph, the Yuletide spirit is soaring. The call count is rising steadily at RCGC this week and the bookings for the 24th Nite at Tolly are fast catching up with last year’s figures.
Clubs enjoy the added advantage of being safer and easier on the pocket. “Everybody who comes to the club is known to one another. So, it is more secure. Also, the prices for food and drinks are cheaper than in restaurants and hotels,” says Menon. Security is a concern, with CCTVs, metal detectors and car checks in place, but that will not play party pooper. “Everyone is sorry about what happened (in Mumbai), but this is the time to party,” says Gangopadhyay.
“Things have really picked up and at the X’mas Eve celebrations we expect at least 1,500 people,” says Rajen Sood of Saturday Club. “The tide has turned and people are in the mood to party. We expect 1,200 people for the Christmas Eve party,” says Deepankar Nandi of CC&FC.
The demand for cards at clubs is only matched by the sale of cakes at confectionery stores. “Cake shopping has started a little late but people are not compromising on the price slab, unlike this Diwali,” says Lovey Burman of Kookie Jar. It is business as usual on X’mas Eve at Nahoums, with “daily footfalls close to 1,000” this week.
When cakes are flying off the shelves can ale be far behind? “The growth is robust and as per what we had budgeted for,” says Kaushik Chatterjee, the COO (East) of United Spirits Limited.
“We have bounced back,” feels DJ Girish D, the resident DJ of Shisha, the 22 Camac Street party address.
Also urging the city to bounce back is The Great Kolkata Shopping Festival, an initiative of the West Bengal tourism department and Anandabazar Patrika. Modelled on the Dubai Shopping Festival, the 30-day buy-buy extravaganza starting on December 24 features over 2,000 establishments across the city to beat the retail blues.