Young adults around the city are gearing up to welcome 2021 with fingers crossed and a mixed bag of emotions. While it will be gratifying to bid adieu to a year riddled with the pandemic, global lockdowns and hardships, they are also filled with hope and gratitude, as they opt for small-scale, intimate gatherings and celebrations with family and friends.
Nida Siddiqui of Derric and Nida, a city-based band, said while she was occupied till Christmas with performances and recordings, she decided to be among friends for the last day of the year. “Although we all know things might not get better even after December 31, we are just pinning hope on the fact that it may end in some way. This year made us value people we are close to more, and spend time with family and friends. Last year was all about parties. This year, people just want to spend bare-minimum time with friends. So most probably, I will be spending New Year’s Eve watching a movie and eating good food.”
With curfew norms in place, Nida said she preferred to stay home rather than perform. “Surprisingly, we had a lot of requests for year-end celebrations. But with the new curfew regulations, it would have been nearly impossible to divide up time,” she said.
Tushar Jhamtani (23), a freelance media professional said, “Until last year, New Year’s Eve was mostly about going out with friends, but this year I am just going to stay home and maybe sleep through it. I am looking forward to 2021. I hope it is a year where things become slightly like pre-Covid times and I hope we need not wear masks anymore”.
Radhika Mulay (28), a dancer and environmental researcher and student Ishaan Menezes (23) felt that with the new strain of the virus entering the country, the pandemic may not end soon. “I did not even realise the year was almost over. In March, we were counting down the days of the lockdown. But I had never imagined the pandemic would take away the entire year. With the new strain spreading, I don’t think 2021 will be different from 2020. It is sad. We all seem to have accepted it as part of our everyday lives now. It is fearful, yet I do not see any other way to carry on,” said Mulay.
“I look at 2021 with the brightest glimmer of hope, but being very realistic, I accept the fact the pandemic will not go away soon and I have to learn to change my lifestyle for the better,” said Menezes.
For senior architect Tejashree Warke (27) the celebrations will include a close party at her friend’s villa in Kamshet. “Looking at the year gone by for all of us, we just felt like having a proper bash on 31st. With a few friends gathering while maintaining all safety measures, we will bid goodbye to 2020,” said Warke.
Saniya Aldrin (23) a financial analyst said, “Although I am saddened by the lacklustre celebrations due to curfew norms, I hold onto the hope of a free and better new year”. Student Mahek Tejwani (21) is looking at 2021 “with no expectations” and “will take it as it comes.”
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Managements of popular venues like The House Of Medici, Local Gastro Bar and SWIG said preparations for celebrations will not differ much from regular days, but they will ensure curfew norms are followed by dimming the ambience.
“We will be operational in the morning and our different branches in Pune will have a range of cover charges for stags and couples. Contrary to last year, when we celebrated till 1am, this year we will try to dim out the DJ music and cut out the ambience in order to push out people before curfew time. While we want people to have a good time, we are prioritising regulations for safety,” said Sakshi Gautam, a member of the management at SWIG in Senapati Bapat Road.
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