CHENNAI: The pandemic has not broken Deepak Krishnan’s party spirits. Since there are restrictions on gatherings on New Year’s Eve, he has booked a banquet hall in a five-star hotel in the city on January 2 to host a dinner for 25 guests.
“The day does not matter. It is the season to get together with my dearest folks and I can celebrate a few days later,” says the 32-year-old entrepreneur from Vandalur. With fear of Covid-19 still hanging in the air and restrictions in place, hotels are not hosting any loud parties to ring in the New Year. Thus, some people are opting for close-knit gatherings that extend into sleepovers or parties that will go on into the first week of January. While some have themed parties and hearty dinners at home, a few are also booking hotel rooms for the night.
According to a staff member at Leela Palace, Chennai, there has been quite a number of bookings in the first week of January for staycations or banquet dinners. “Due to restrictions, this New Year’s Eve, we have no parties, just a quiet buffet until 10pm,” he says.
Deepa Balendran from Anna Nagar plans to celebrate New Year’s Eve with her husband, children, and 10 of her closest friends. Being away from relatives and staying at home also gave time for her family to bond with their neighbours, who are now their closest friends and guests for the party.
“I am excited to begin 2021 with those who stood by my side amid the hardships caused by Covid-19,” says the 39-year-old assistant professor at DG Vaishnav College, Arumbakkam. The theme for her house party is ‘Bling’, where every person is expected to wear something shiny that evokes positivity. “We also have a delicious Malayali dinner with mutton and chicken curry, appam, idiyappam, and ghee rice,” she says.
For 22-year-old Praveen Raj, who usually spends December 31 clubbing and visiting beaches, partying will now be confined to a hotel room with friends this year. “We split into two groups of about 10 in each one and booked rooms in two top hotels in the city,” he says, adding the two groups may not be able to meet due to restrictions. Raj, who believes this year’s celebrations will be boring, says, “I will miss going to the beach and screaming ‘Happy New Year’ as we drive along the seashore.”
However, Sneha Ramkumar and her husband Brahadeesswaran Kannan are looking forward to hosting their friends for the December 31st night barbeque party, which would be one of the first celebrations since their wedding this February. The couple, who usually attend parties in hotels with friends and family, restrict their celebrations to their terrace with about eight friends. “Some of them will sleep over due to the curfew,” says Ramkumar, a lawyer from Saidapet. “We really needed this break after the stressful months of lockdown.”