Yesterday one of the moral brigades in this liberal country, protested against the organization of a New Year Bash in the city of Bengaluru. The organisers have had the temerity of inviting popular starlet, and India’s most searched celebrity on Google- Sunny Leone for the event. As a result, the Karnataka government denied permission to Leone from partaking the bash, fearing law and order disruption.

Though New Year bashes were a rage at the turn of the millennium, now they are as eventful as the hype around Ms. Leone’s recent works of art.

However, I could not help but think about how the trend of celebrating New Year’s Eve has changed in the last few decades.

At the risk of sounding like a centenarian grandma, who refuses to find good things to say about anything but the past, I miss the way we used to celebrate New Year’s Eve when I was younger. In the late 80s and early 90s, the trend of partying on 31st December night finally caught up in small towns.  Farmhouse parties, or house gatherings were the trend of the time. The kids had the permission to stay up till midnight (The ensuing excitement was something, my kid’s and his peers will never know).

Aunties would brave the bone-chilling cold in trendy outfits. Uncles would be a little tipsy from all the rum and whiskey sloshing in their belly.

The bacha gang would polish off plates of snacks before they could even reach the elders’ line of sight. Some years we would cuddle up under blankets in the hosts’ living room and watch Jaspal Bhatti’s new year special program.

Then as teenagers we abhorred all sorts of gatherings unless it was to evoke Satan. While the parents continued to party into the new millennium, we traded Jaspal Bhatti’s show to watch a pre-recorded New Year’s bash on cable, where big stars would put up mediocre dance performances. This was the same time that the trend of New Year bashes started. It began with five-star hotels and resorts, where a B-grade starlet (or an A-grade heroine, well on her descent) would dance on a couple of hit party numbers.

People willingly paid a hefty entry fee, to watch these ladies shake a leg in shining attire from a kilometre’s distance.

The DJ would put decent tracks to death by showing off his mixing skills, while sweaty drunk men and enthusiastic ladies ate overpriced meals. The cost of the ticket and the liquor bill would lead to a foul tasting head hurting beginning to the New Year.

Of course, the moral brigade had a problem with these New Year bashes, especially at resorts and hotels where the “star attraction” was a performance by starlets who preceded Leone on the silver screen. But things have changed so much since the turn of the millennium.

Once we found the company of the Internet. The smartphones and social media made us more detached to the outside world. With increasing traffic and crowd at resorts and hotels, most people have now come back to bringing in the New Year from the comfort of their homes. Many people organise intimate gatherings with food and wine, and a lot of enthusiasm to celebrate the Eve.

The millennials though do not spend the New Year’s Eve socialising. They Netflix and chill.

Despite having fond memories of New year parties, I dare say I would enjoy going to one now. I would rather spend my New Year’s Eve cuddled up like a cat on my sofa, with a glass of decent wine and an equally fatigued and antisocial spouse for a company.

It’s not that we have lost the passion to celebrate. Our constant connection to society via social media has minimised out craze for company in real life. Every day or every moment we can find to relax and lay low is appreciable.

Certainly, the only way the social generation wants to welcome the New Year.

Pic Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

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Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

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