| CLAUS ENCOUNTER: Children check out the Santa Claus at RCGC on Thursday. Picture by Gautam Bose
Dark skies and a drizzle may have dampened the festive spirit on Thursday, but the clouds and the mood are sure to lift by Christmas eve.
The weather office predicts 'two cloudy days with possibility of light rain', followed by a 'clear and cold Christmas-eve night'.
With the sky slated to clear by the night of December 24, the minimum temperature ' pegged at 18.3 degrees Celsius on Thursday, four degrees above normal ' will dip on Saturday night.
The city received 0.2 mm of rain on Thursday. 'For the next two days, the sky is likely to remain overcast but we can expect a clear sky and a nip in the air on the night of Christmas eve' said K.K. Chakraborty, acting deputy director general at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore.
'A number of low-pressure troughs have developed over land as well as over the sea. The wind, too, is blowing in from the sea, bringing in loads of moisture,' added Chakraborty.
If the mercury, rising steadily over the past few days, is expected to dip by Saturday evening, the festive fever is sure to send temperatures soaring on X'mas eve.
To keep the party heat from boiling over, police met representatives of hotels, restaurants and clubs on Thursday afternoon.
Besides following the regular checks and measures, Anuj Sharma, deputy commissioner (headquarters), insisted that the last-drink deadline be strictly followed.
'We will have check-up points on important stretches like Park Street, Shakespeare Sarani, Chowringhee and at Esplanade to curb drunken driving and stop boys on motorcycles from causing a nuisance. At least 500 policemen will be deployed in the Park Street area,' said Sharma.
Though a security ring will be thrown around Park Street, the Christmas eve action is scattered all over this time, with the stress on club carnivals and private parties.
'The trend of private parties at residences or on rooftops has caught on. We have received 27 applications seeking deployment of two or three policemen in front of premises where such gatherings will be organised. Around 350 such parties will be held on Christmas night,' said Sharma.
Music & munch
The premier clubs of the city are billed to draw the biggest party crowds on Christmas eve, having lined up a mega music-and-munch menu.
At Tollygunge Club, the tone will be set by Shiva and DJ A-Myth, while at CC&FC, old favourite Gary Lawyer and Skinny Alley will rock the crowd.
At Royal Calcutta Golf Club, the spotlight will be on Mou Mukherjee, DJ Girish and the Beat Busters, while at Saturday Club, centre stage will be shared by band Tantric, DJ Vicky and Harshada.
'We do go club-hopping on Christmas eve. We prefer clubs because the crowd is more family-oriented. We avoid discs because of the crowd,' say Nilanjana and Arjun Chakraborty, regulars on the party circuit.