| THREE CHEERS: One-year-old Sara lends a helping hand to her parents Jisshu and Nilanjanaa for Christmas decorations at their Golf Garden home. “Celebrating Christmas has become a ritual for us now,” says Nilanjanaa. Friday also saw the release of Aamra, a film starring Sara’s parents. Picture by Pabitra Das
Christmas Eve 2000. The party was planned. The revelry route was chalked out, the timings were fixed, the style statements had been decided weeks in advance.
Christmas Eve 2006. The party will happen — somewhere, sometime. After all, it’s just another party weekend in town.
The festive fever has cooled off somewhat — not because Calcutta is partying too little, but probably because it is partying too much.
Like with shopping, the occasional peaks have given way to an all-year-high plateau.
“Calcuttans are partying almost every night. So, Christmas Eve means just another party,” says Sovan Mukherjee, manager of hookah bar Shisha. Calcutta also parties the longest, with nightclubs open till late (or rather, early).
December 24 as “any other night” made its debut a couple of years ago. And the trend keeps growing, says Bunty Sethi of Venom. “The city has adopted the casual party approach. Gone are the days when people bought suits and dresses for pre-Xmas nights.”
Then, there’s the small matter of a pack of party people leaving town for an extended weekend. “A three-day holiday is rare, while partying in Calcutta is par for the course,” says Deepak Roy, 35, off to Darjeeling with wife Rima.
But there is also a party gang that is being forced to stay back in town because of the threat of a terror attack in Goa. “Some 25 of us were looking forward to a year-end vacation in Goa. All bookings were made six months ago but we have cancelled our plans,” says husband-wife duo Nishant and Cherie Agarwal.
For those staying on in Calcutta, the famed club culture is once again the saving grace this December. The mood on the club greens is as peppy as ever — from the sprawling bamboo groves of Tollygunge Club set to witness “3,000” revellers rocking to DJ Akbar Sami’s tunes to Saturday Club, also “expecting a full house”, from CC&FC’s Flashdance to South Club’s Shayne Hyrapiet.
With a mixed menu of music and munchies, clubs are where the crowds will be on Sunday night.
“They will definitely enjoy the food and beverage and gala entertainment,” says Peter Remedios, entertainment convener, RCGC.
Then there are those — and in growing numbers — who are choosing to spend the special night behind closed doors. The reasons range from overcrowded dance floors to sub-standard alcohol being served.
“Who wants to ring in Christmas being jostled by strange people'” wonders Anchit Dhawan, 24, gearing up for a private party.