Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Has Kolkata’s nightlife finally arrived!

Last week well past midnight around 2:15 am, I entered The Taj Bengal Hotel along with few friends. We had gone there thinking that at this odd hour Taj would be the only place where we could grab a late night bite quick and fast.
I was more or less sure that the Tandoor would also be closed by now as for dal roti fan like me its important. While making our way to the Coffee Shop I saw two to three different groups of youngsters hanging in and around the lobby.
On reaching the Coffee Shop I found that not a single seat was vacant and the place was buzzing with late night diners having a great time. I always find some familiar faces at the Coffee Shop but for the first time there were none.
Another thing, when we entered the lobby we found that all the lights were on like at the peak hours. I mention this because the last time, few months ago, when I had a late night experience at The Taj, I had found the lights in the lobby were dimmed as per the normal hotel norms after a particular hour, usually 12:30 at night.
So we had to wait at the Hawain Lounge as The Chambers and the Tea Lounge too had closed by then. At that late night hour, not getting a table at the Coffee Shop, we discovered a new Kolkata. In fact, we weren’t the last ones to be there. I saw more groups of youngsters coming into the Hotel even as I was leaving.
There was a time when the city used to have the safest nightlife with no time bar if not the most happening one. As far as the nightlife is concerned, the younger generations in the other metros have always been far ahead of their Kolkata counterparts. But that, I think, is no more the case.
The groups we saw were all very young in modern western outfits and I overheard some of them talking in a foreign accent. I had never seen them before at any other social gatherings and neither were they the house guests of Taj.
Some of my friends, who are regulars at the nightclubs and other events, told me earlier that there is this particular and exclusive Kolkata crowd that is purely nocturnal and are seldom seen anywhere during the daytime. I dont know those who frequent the nightclubs are familiar with these faces or not!
I remember a couple of friends from Bangalore once mentioned to me the same thing having visited one of the nightclubs in the city they were surprised to see the type of crowd in Kolkata. They too told me these groups are rarely seen during day time or at any other events. They are out only during the night.
There has been a sea change in the city's nightlife. During our school days we used hear a lot about the only nightclub Pink Elephant at The Oberoi Grand. During our college days there was Anticlock at Hotel Hindustan International where youngsters used to leave by 10:30 pm as that was the closing hours. I remember very well that even Anti Clock started day parties from 5 pm or so to cater the college groups so they could reach home well in time. But after many years, what I saw at The Taj Bengal was a trendsetter.
I am not sure whether this is a passing phenomenon or the nightlife has finally arrived in Kolkata. Wonder if this is a new trend post late night rule of the Kolkata Police or the summer holidays for which students studying abroad had come down to the city or perhaps the IPL late night bashes that have shown the way.
ess bee

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