Kolkata set to usher in 2013 in style

Kolkata, Dec 30 (IANS) With the classic ball, divine notes of blues and the acquired taste of alternative rock, the magic of the Mediterranean to a scintillating Bollywood presence, revellers in Kolkata are ready to jet set into the new year.

Known for being a melting pot of cultures, the city offers a variety of entertainment to usher in the new year with pomp and splendour for the young and old alike.

From hep discotheques to quaint Victorian-era edifices, the settings of the New Year-eve bashes reflect the city's diverse palette.

For those who want to step up and do the whole ballroom-dance routine in customary tuxedos and dress, the 153-year-old Dalhousie Institute (DI) promises to make you groove to popular rhythms, blues and soul by the American band Blue Mist.

"The ball will be conducted in the open air and guests will be expected to adhere to the dress code - suits and ties for men and dresses for women," a DI spokesperson told IANS.

One can also join in to croon collectively to classics like "Roll out the barrel" and "Auld Lang Syne" in the crisp winter night.

Party-goers daring to celebrate in the dipping mercury can enjoy a dash of alcohol at the city's first ice bar - Minus 6 Degrees - snuggled in fur caps, jackets and boots amidst sparkling ice walls and tables.

From shots of liquor in ice glasses to posing in front of ice sculptures of Kolkata landmarks like Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial and the Ambassador taxi, the ice bar guarantees a different experience this New Year's Eve.

"We have a special December 31 package that includes a buffet and drinks. The drinks are served in glasses made from ice," a Minus 6 Degrees official told IANS.

Those wishing to beat the chill with the stunning Mediterranean sun, can make their way to the "Ibiza night" (themed on popular party joint Ibiza island in the Mediterranean Sea) at the Underground Club in Hotel Hindusthan International (HHI).

"International artists will play live music and DJ's will churn out party numbers. The whole place will be specially decorated. The idea is to recreate the party atmosphere of Ibiza," an HHI representative told IANS.

After a sizzling sojourn to the Mediterranean, head for English-style pub Someplace Else and greet the new year musically with city-based ensembles Saturday Night Blues Band and Pseudonym over drinks and finger food.

"The Saturday Night Blues Band plays brilliant blues tracks whereas Pseudonym is an alternative rock band. Both will be playing on New Year's Eve to cater to the mixed crowd. Song requests and dedications will be welcomed too," an official of the pub told IANS.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are options galore for those who want to give alcohol a wide berth.

The Tea Trove cafe is all set to begin the New Year with a "Glow in the Dark" party where the beverages including gourmet teas will glow.

"Anything in white will glow, plus the beverages will be glowing as well. The food items will be themed around that. There will be one-minute games and other activities as well," Shruti, one of the owners, told IANS.

Promising to make the children's last days of 2012 equally entertaining, Hyatt Regency has designed a "Kids' Special New Year-Eve" party that will enable the young ones to mingle and have fun.

"We have a special menu that consists of kid-friendly stuff like sandwiches and juices. Games and music have been arranged keeping in mind their age," a Hyatt Regency representative told IANS.

The Rajasthani community in the city, known for their lavish arrangements, set the ball rolling Dec 30 itself with a galaxy of Bollywood stars descending on the eastern metropolis at the ongoing "Aapno Gaon" Rajasthani fair.

"Actors Anushka Sharma, Imran Khan and Pankaj Kapoor will be present to promote their forthcoming film 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola'. We expect footfalls of thousands," said Pradeep Agarwal, convener of Salt Lake Lok Sanskriti, the organisers.

With so much on offer, come Dec 31, Kolkata will be basking in all its glory and joie de vivre for the world to see.

(Sahana Ghosh can be contacted at sahana15ghosh@gmail.com)

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