Braving the cold wave sweeping the Capital, revellers who packed various popular hang-outs on Thursday night welcomed the New Year with hugs, whistles and loud cheers at the stroke of midnight.
As the minute hand of the clock inched its way towards 12 o’clock, many eagerly anticipated the transition: some wanted the joyous moment to freeze in time and still others looked back at the year just gone by with bitter-sweet memories. The buzz in the air was both heady and palpable.
But the more universal feeling that enveloped the city was that of hope, a hope that the approaching year would usher in a bounty of opportunities, prosperity and peace. Celebrations were more cheery and party budgets larger in comparison to last year. Overall a generally festive mood prevailed over the Capital.
Traditionally Connaught Place has been a favourite spot for many to ring in the New Year. This year too citizens were undeterred by the ongoing restoration work which has made the spot rather inaccessible. Despite the chill weather and intensified police patrolling, revellers thronged the place in large numbers. Traffic police teams equipped with breath analysers were stationed across the city to curb drunken driving.
In view of the security restrictions, the Delhi Metro railway stopped entry and exit of passengers from Rajiv Chowk station at 9 p.m. Only inter-change facility between Central Secretariat-Jehangirpuri and Dwarka Sector 32 remained operational.
From 7-30 p.m. onward, all roads leading up to Connaught Place were closed to traffic. For once people could be seen comfortably roaming the streets without fear of being restricted by traffic.
There were large crowds at Janpath and India Gate too. Everywhere, policemen were present in strength to regulate the crowds.
Many others ushered in the New Year in hotels, farmhouses and house parties. All major hotels and restaurants had a tempting line-up of events on New Year’s Eve. Sold as a package deal to individuals wanting to celebrate in style, the events included theme parties, performances by Indian and international celebrities, lavish food spreads and free flowing liquor.