The Delhi police is right now at its dictatorial worst. It has barred New Year revellers without pockets deep enough to shell out big bucks at upmarket restaurants and nightclubs from these joints. It has come out with a circular banning revellers from entering posh commercial hubs unless they have bookings, passes or SMS alerts from restaurants.
These out-of-bounds for the aam aadmi restaurants charge customers anything from Rs5,000 to Rs12,000 for a couple. Put simply, if you can’t pay a bomb, you can’t have a blast.
This diktat prohibits those who want to just roam and enjoy the evening from doing so. A Delhi police spokesperson told dna, “No vehicle will be allowed in Connaught Place (CP) after 7pm. People carrying restaurant passes or invites, or an SMS-based booking confirmation will only be allowed in.”
Prominent public places such as Central Park and India Gate will be cordoned off in the name of security — leaving the aam aadmi stranded in his home turf.
This phenomenon, which has become unique to Delhi in recent years, definitely puts a dampener on Delhiites. “It was not always like that,” said 28-year-old Nikhil Saxena, remembering his college days seven years ago, when he along with his friends would hang out in CP till the midnight of December 31 and then drive down to India Gate to have tea in the wee hours of the morning. “There used to be a special arrangement, in fact, for the common man,” he said.
Narrating her experience of last year, 23-year-old Amrita Sinha said, “I was new to Delhi and did not know that advance booking in restaurants was required to enter CP. The cops did not allow us after a certain point since we did not have bookings anywhere. I cannot forget how we travelled back home in the metro, all dismayed when the new year rang in,” she said.
Deepak Kumar had gone to a South Delhi mall thinking that even if restaurants needed prior bookings, he would spend time sitting in the public areas of a mall. “I was petrified when I saw the police forcing people to vacate the entire building by 10.30pm. Only those holding glittery passes were allowed to stay,” Kumar said.
Things are starkly different in metros like Mumbai and Bangalore. “In Mumbai if you don’t want to spend, you have an option of usher in the New Year sitting under a starry sky overlooking the sea with a lot of other people around,” said Sonall Jamuar, a manager at a five-star hotel in Mumbai. “I shall be hanging out with friends at Bandstand or Juhu after the midnight party at my hotel.”
Bangalore, too, is friendly to the aam aadmi. “Families prefer to stay indoors but youngsters spend the night biking and partying on Brigade road and MG road,” said Neha Srivastava Raj.