The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bangalore refuses to be cowed

Bangalore, Dec. 31: Last-minute shoppers with bulging plastic bags hung on two-wheeler handle bars and impatient drivers wanting to get ahead were all over the streets as Bangalore decided to usher in the new year in defiance of Wednesday’s terrorist attack.

The illuminated M.G. Road-Brigade Road, Bangalore’s hep street, this evening brought forth the city’s resilience in the face of terror. The party animals were out in strength, refusing to be cooped up at home.

Popular restaurants and star hotels continued to advertise their New Year’s Eve dinner parties. “We are booked full, there are no spare tables,” announced the manager of Grand Ashok, which was in the news for all the wrong reasons just a day earlier.

The hotel, next to chief minister Dharam Singh’s home-cum-office, was a target for pranksters who claimed in a fax that a bomb would go off while the party is in full swing.

For Aditi Gopalakrishna and her husband who saved up to party on New Year’s Eve, the heavy police presence was not a damper. “At least women will be safe,” she said, referring to the yearly tamasha where youths make the annual pilgrimage to the M.G. Road-Brigade junction to usher in the new year boisterously.

Like every other New Year’s Eve, the police have banned parking within a radius of 2 km from this area.

While many preferred to dine out, there were an equal number who chose to spend the night with family and friends. Rajan Kumar, a tech writer, said he was throwing a party at his apartment.

“I just came to buy some wine as more women colleagues have promised to turn up,” he said, standing in a long line at a billing counter inside a popular chain store.

The party lot has nothing to worry except perhaps the army of traffic policemen with breathalysers. “We are drafting teams armed with 75 alcoholometers who will be stationed at vantage points after midnight,” said police commissioner Ajai Kumar Singh.

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