More Mumbaikars party at home to usher in 2015

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 01 Januari 2015 | 22.23

A sea of strangers along the beachfront and the police crackdown on drunk driving have begun to alter the way Mumbai celebrates new year. Wednesday saw several residents opt for house parties or enjoy in the building compound.

More singles than families gathered along the Gateway of India, Girgaum Chowpatty, Carter Road and Juhu. The police had planned to adapt the Gateway of India bandobast model to demarcate special enclosures for families and stags at other beaches. However, this was yet to take off by late evening. Senior inspector of Santa Cruz police station Padmakar Chavan, whose jurisdiction includes most of Juhu Beach, said, "We have installed six watchtowers, extra lights and 16 CCTV cameras whose footage is being monitored." Both Chavan and his Juhu counterpart Abhay Shastri were sportingly willing to ring in another new year on bandobast duty.

Compound parties remain extremely popular. Two large housing societies in Mulund organised lavish celebrations for up to 300 members. Pinnacle Building in Vasant Oscar complex began the evening with one-minute games. "Everybody is very excited, particularly the children. There is a DJ playing music and the kids are dancing. We have been busy all of last week buying firecrackers and preparing an effigy of the Old Man to set alight at midnight," said organiser Vidya Iyer. Nearby at Shreedatta Kripa Society, secretary Vivek Bhatkhande could scarcely be heard over the din. "Yes, children are having a good time," he laughed.

Police were visible everywhere, a fact particularly reassuring to women. "Traffic is being managed well along Marine Drive, Chowpatty, Kemps Corner and Pedder Road," said Atul Kumar of the Nariman Point Residents' Association. Bus commuters were inconvenienced as BEST appeared to have curtailed its fleet.

(Inputs from Vinamrata Borwankar, Richa Pinto and Bella Jaisinghani)

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