The city threw a bash in style

The New Year eve is always a mixed bag of emotions. While some spend the night with loved ones in their living rooms, some rock it out at parties. Gone is the time when ushering in the new year was a quiet homely affair. Now, Madurai too is catching up with its people hitting the dance floors with a blitz of music, models and celebrities. Though the new year parties may be far and few but the small town is slowly getting there. This is one occasion, when the city elites flaunt fashion and wealth, the star hotels become the sought after addresses and drinking is not a sin! Loud raucous music and blinding florescent illumination formed the combo to which the city in transition rocked and rolled this New Year eve.

For the party animals, what does it mean to spend so much for just a few hours of entertainment?

“Parties are simply energetic,” declares Dr.Amudha Ilavan, “they are booster shots for taking up life afresh.” The general physician, who was visiting metros for New Year parties earlier, feels the partying culture in Madurai has come a long way from being closed and limited. “The mindset of people has changed and I now see the women shedding inhibitions and taking to the dance floor,” he says.

For Vijay Gopal, parties are occasions to meet new people, know trends and fashion and catch up on the world. “It helps me to stay updated and is a major break from my hectic schedule. I set aside everything for those few hours and enjoy myself to get recharged for the rest of the year,” says the management professional from Tirunelveli, who travels to Madurai for New Year bashes.

Having been to parties in Delhi and Mumbai, Jayakant, a young businessman, doesn’t find the Madurai bashes as hip and happening. “But, small town parties is where the middle-class can mingle well,” he says. “Parties in big cities are distinct and more westernized. They can make you feel like a fish-out-of-water. But here, one can relate better,” he says.

New Year parties in Madurai are wholesome family entertainers. Though singles are also allowed to these parties, most of the games and the fun events are targeted at the entire family. For newly-wed Harvir Bhatia, it’s a relief that he could take his wife to the party. “Elsewhere, you can’t vouch for safety. It’s appreciable that parties here have features like mehendi and nail art that engage home-makers also. It’s more like an open-air carnival,” he says.

Besides families, corporate houses book party tables for their clients and employees. Moses P. Anand, the head of a corporate company in Madurai, says, “We invite all our dealers and their families to party at hotels. It promotes goodwill.” New Year parties this year saw some innovations. Theme parties were the star attractions. Like the ‘American’ theme at Hotel Fortune Pandiyan. The venue was split into three zones designed after American hotspots. The DJ club and dance floor were called Las Vegas, the entertainment stage was tagged as New York and the kids play area was inspired by Disneyland. Even the drinks were essentially American, with cocktails like Margarita and Jack Daniel’s whisky. The organiser, Vikrant believes themes give exclusivity to the party as it sets aside the event from the other parties going on in the town. “This was an experiment and we plan to introduce more such themes in the coming years,” he says. At the Hotel V Grand the décor was with colourful lanterns. “It symbolises an auspicious beginning to the New Year,” says event manager Swagatha.

On the whole, though the new year parties are wholesome entertainment, they also reflect the changing face of celebrations. Featuring games, gifts, anchors and celebrity events and a lavish dinner spread, each party in town vies with the other to stand out and offer something different to party freaks. Going by the response, one can safely say the city has opened up.