The earliest memories of making a big deal about New years eve is not very long ago for me. It was the year 1992 and I was already in my first job. And what a place to work on New Years eve – The Holiday Inn Bangalore. I was part of the Food and Beverages team in charge of Banquet sales. Banquets was where all the action on 31st evening was happening. We would be on our toes all day on the 31st and come back for evening duty during the party. And no body complained. The executive staff were allowed to bring their spouses along for a free dinner and entertainment on New Years eve. Even though my pay those days was equal to what an average house help in a small Indian town (not city) earns today, these were special privileges that made up for where the salary lacked. The spouses got eye candy to watch for free. Twice in my tenure with the Holiday Inn Bangalore, belly dancers were invited from some remote middle eastern country. These artists came to the tables where the guests sat and shook their booty and gave the guests their monies worth for the evening.
Women who ended up accompanying men who paid for such five star hotel parties dressed in the skimpiest of clothes, glamorous accessories and make up and boogied on the dance floor till the wee hours of the morning. You got a chance to show off to your spouse that ‘it was just another day at work’ for you when his eyeballs were threatening to pop out.
Then came a time when a few of our friends, couples with young children like us, decided to travel during the Christmas vacation. Again, twice we were at Goa for the New years eve with friends.
We would stay up till midnight and beyond playing cards, walking the beach, on the cruise liner or at the restaurant over wine and beer. Another time we did the Dandeli- Nagarhole loop and that was absolute fun too. The jeep safari into the woods in pitch darkness, being one of the highlights as I recall.Twice we hung out as a group at The Holiday Village Bangalore, when our kids were neither too young to tag along where we went nor old enough to be left home. This place had family entertainment and kids were entertained as well.
A few years later, when our jobs took us to different cities and it was an effort to build the same camaraderie and friendship of our younger days, we would still be out on New years eve but by ourselves. We would choose a fancy restaurant to drive to with live music or other entertainment and have a meal on the eve of New Year.
Of late, even that has lost its charm. We eat out plenty during the year and so the idea of driving to a restaurant just for food on New years eve, is not as appealing. Especially when you know you have only yourselves to sit with. When you have kids who are not yet teens but speak like them, it is worse. Eventually there will be a comment that the child makes which will not go down well with the parent and then it snowballs into a talking down for the kid. The entire mood of the evening is black and all of us sit on the edge of the seats getting pissed off with the delays in service.
Lately, we stay at home doing our own thing. Like last night, we called close family and friends on the phone and wished them. Then we caught a movie on HBO. Our daughter locked herself in her room and watched a movie of her choice.
She is waiting to turn 18 so that she can start partying on New year eves again.