What day is it? Picnic day, silly. So, what if you’ve partied all night to usher in the New Year. Grab your picnic basket already and go have some amazing fun in the winter sun.
Now, that is some friendly advice we would give lazy bones. Ranchi, for sure, is not one.
The capital kept spirits high across hotels, clubs and home parties on New Year-eve Monday. Young and old grooved to DJ music; took break from the dance floor to sip their favourite drink; burst crackers on rooftops and roads; went on a gourmet binge; and screamed HNY at the top of their voice when the clock struck 12.
Cut to Tuesday morning. Even before the first sun of 2019 painted the sky in hues of amber and red, Ranchi was packing its bags for a much-awaited annual picnic.
Vegetables and fruits were sorted; grains and cereals tinned; cooking stoves placed in car boot; extra mats tucked in as well; and off went the city to waterfalls, hillocks, gardens, lakes and parks.
“Going on a picnic on the first day of the year is a tradition in my family. We are visiting Jonha Falls today (Tuesday) because we all love nature. The place is scenic and helps us relax,” said Anal Minz, a resident of Kadru.
Besides Jonha, the crowd magnets for day trippers included Rukka Dam, Hundru Falls, Dassam Falls, Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park and Patratu valley.
In the city, where the footfall of picnickers crossed a lakh, the favourite hangouts were Rock Garden on Kanke Road, Nakshatra Van near Raj Bhavan, Tagore Hill in Morabadi, Sido Kanho Park on Kanke Road, Kanke Dam, the aquarium near Raj Bhavan and Fun Castle in Ratu.
Vinod Kumar, a businessman from Dhurwa visited Rukka Dam near Ormanjhi. “Nothing soothes your soul better than the warmth of the winter sun on the waterfront. Fun with family and food are bonus,” he said.
Rajeev Ranjan, a government official, decided to spend his January 1 on the animal planet. “It is a crime to stay home on the first day of the year. My family and I love birds and animals. So, here we are at Birsa zoo, wishing the inmates the season’s greetings,” he said.
Environmentalist Nitish Priyadarshi said the state could use the swelling crowd at various picnic spots to spread messages on ecological balance. “Next year, I will make the suggestion. The government can use the opportunity to teach people ways to keep water bodies clean and save forests,” he said.
City SP Sujata Veenpani said elaborate security arrangements ensured peaceful celebrations on New Year’s Day. Over 1,000 men and women in uniform, including Shakti commandos, were deployed near hot spots to prevent untoward incidents like eve-teasing.
Kids play it cool at Rukka Dam near Ranchi (Prashant Mitra)