With an unforgiving deadline, the party animals in the city have become Cinderellas who know that their wild night in town will be cut short once the clock strikes 12, writes Nivedita Ganguly
We have to keep a check if there are any immoral activities going on or any incident of drunken driving. V.S.K. Kaumudi Smoky interiors, swinging music and bright lights... . This is nightlife, the world of fun and frolic. The music comes on and the energetic crowd pirouette in perfect synchronisation on the dance floor, swinging and grooving to the beats. In the darkness are the flying colourful sparks. Silver globes studded with mirrors revolve with a life of their own. Here, you stop being a person and become a shape as the lights flicker across your face and transform you into an exotic species. Though there is limited scope for a vibrant nightlife in the city, the young crowd seems to make the full use of all available options.But with an unforgiving deadline, the party animals in the city have become Cinderellas who know that their wild night in town will be cut short once the clock strikes twelve. At the stroke of midnight, all music dies, house lights come on and reluctant party people are booted out of bars, pubs and clubs.It's the dawn of a new club culture: getting started earlier, people just "hanging out" instead of partying hard. With the cosmopolitan culture slowly creeping in, recreational activities in the form of parties and night-outs at clubs and hotels have become the latest fad among the people. But the law that everybody hangs up one's dancing shoes at Cinderella-hour is being enforced with a passion. Theme nights, couple's nights, happy hours... evidently, everyone is working harder than ever to tempt partygoers, now that club life is being seen as "way too much of an effort" thanks to the deadline. "After work, people like to go home, get dressed up and then barge in for the night's fun. The crowd normally starts coming from 10.30 p.m. onwards. But we have to close the bar by 11 p.m. and wind up the restaurant by zero hour. So where is the time for fun?" asks Srinivas Reddy of Chrome. With call centres and software firms swelling in number, where would their employees who work in odd shifts go for party?"Everyone's calling friends over and chilling out at home now," sighs a manager. And the only mantra that would work now is "come early and party hard".At Chrome, which has managed both to retain its regulars and attract a new crowd, Srinivas says they have been working on bringing different music and DJs to the city, with specific nights for Retro and Rock. And one can also chill out in the afternoons here with music, your favourite pint, and a solid meal.While many seem dissatisfied with the lack of much scope for entertainment in the city, there are some who agree that "Vizag has definitely grown and changed, too, but the growth has been faster and the change slower"."We talk about promoting tourism. But then why do people prefer Hyderabad or Bangalore for New Year-eve? It's because we don't leave them with too many options here. The city is at a very nascent stage and has a long way to go before it catches up with Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai or Delhi," says Srinivas.While Shruti, a process associate from Delhi, feels that the nightlife in the city has improved "somewhat", she wishes there were more places "to shake a leg". Selina and her sister from the UK had to head for Goa for the New Year bash since they felt that there was "hardly any scope to party in the city with too much of restrictions imposed on them".According to Police Commissioner V.S.K.Kaumudi, a separate committee has been formed in Hyderabad to look into the rules for the timings of different business establishments. "Moreover, a certain segment of people keeps complaining that in such night parties, there's not just innocent dancing. We have to keep a check if there are any immoral activities going on or any incidence of drunken driving. The people tend to forget that they have to drive back home after the party," he avers. "The key is to ensure that your crowd is right," says Srinivas. On the safety factor, "a strict vigil is kept on any kind of misbehaviour," he says. Says Prachi, a software executive, "There are so many youngsters out there who go there just to have clean fun. It is all a mindset. We can handle ourselves the way we want to. Nobody can corrupt us unless we give him or her the permission to do so. All that we have to do is play safe and we can avoid all the regrets later in life."