Here they come again, the questions: what are you doing for New Year’s? Any plans? Any resolutions?
As for resolutions, just say, “I don’t make them, I keep them.”
Here are some suggestions from interesting Bangaloreans about celebrations.
Julie Kagti, textile artist: “My suggestion would be a quiet sit-down 7-course dinner at Grasshopper, located in a family-run farm on Bannerghatta road. A few good friends and family, where the wine and conversation flows easy. End with a nightcap by a bonfire recapping the highlights of the year late into the night.”
Ravichander, honorary director, Bangalore International Centre: This New Year, I would recommend that you discover our erstwhile city centre on foot. A civilised society cares for its most vulnerable and that would be the pedestrian on our streets. With our newly built footpaths, you could for instance, explore getting from Ulsoor Lake to Freedom Park and back. And there are a myriad of alternative routes on foot where you can cover places, community spaces and food joints. You will discover Bengaluru that you missed experiencing all these years.
Praveen Kumar, bharatanatyam dancer and guru, Chithkala.com: Being a classical dancer, my life mostly revolves around art, travel, meeting people. I have been associated with the Swananda Ashram, which is off Kanakapura road, wherein we help kids studying in and around that place. We help them in getting funds to pay their school fee, uniforms etc. So I like to spend the day in that area just to keep a tab on their activities. Also the Ashram has beautiful greenery, which reminds me of old beautiful Bengaluru.
Ruma Singh, wine writer and columnist: If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that we have got a second chance at life. So, it will be a quiet getaway with my family to one of the many beautiful, green places we have around Bangalore– like Flameback, surrounded by paddy fields and bird sounds, or Primrose Villas, atop the mist-wrapped mountains of the Western Ghats, both in Chikmagalur. I would sit and watch the trees, listen to the birds and immerse myself in the beauty of nature and the present: that joy never gets old. Oh, and a glass of wine to aid the meditation- perhaps an Alvaro Palacios Ermita 2013 from Priorat.
Abhishek Poddar, founder, Museum of Art and Photography: I realise the true extent of how much I enjoy Bangalore, each time I land back in the city. From the smoothest airport in the country– ten minutes from landing to being in the car, the steaming hot cup of filter coffee at Hatti Kaapi in hand, driving back home with the windows down and enjoying the amazing weather. The next morning is always a refreshing walk in the park amongst the flowering trees (and each season has its own colours), followed by the finest South Indian breakfast at Umesh Point! There is no other place that offers so many of lifes simple pleasures so amply.
Madhu Natraj, Award winning Choreographer, Mentor, Artpreneur: If I were to imagine a New Year’s Eve that is special, I would choose to nominate the majestic stairs and patio of the Vidhana Soudha as a concert venue on 31st night. A unique amalgam of folk, classical, and contemporary performers of Karnataka along with an international troupe. The area around Vidhana Soudha to be cordoned off for a kilometre radius to feature bespoke cuisine and beverages (with local breweries and wineries). This should be a ticketed event with security. If the Government– in liaison with event companies and artistes– hosts such an event every year, we don’t need to hear of revellers roaming the streets like headless chickens with no idea as to how to spend this special evening.
Madhav Sehgal, General Manager, The Leela Palace Bengaluru: My New Year plan is to take a ride on my Harley and visit a few temples in and around Bangalore and find some authentic temple food in their vicinity.
As you see from the responses, muted, simple celebrations are in. We are emerging from the chrysalis of the pandemic and taking tentative steps into a new year and a new dawn.
What would I do? Staycations are in. Watching the moonrise and the sunrise from a penthouse suite at The Conrad hotel overlooking Ulsoor Lake. Dining at restaurants run by friends: Abhijit Saha’s The Pet People Cafe or Glass at the Holiday Inn, Gowda food at the Bengaluru Oota company with Divya Prabhakar and Vishal Shetty, drinks and French Fries at Vishal Nagpal’s Trippy Goat, meeting friends at the Navu Project where Kanishka Sharma and Pallavi Menon cook, or ordering in at home from Rhea Aaron of Klaa Kitchen. The restaurant that everyone is talking about is Farmlore, where three chefs including Mythrayie Iyer make painstakingly prepared food using local ingredients. I haven’t been to Farmlore yet, but perhaps that can be my New Year plan.
To celebrate may seem unseemly given the turmoil and crises that many of our family and friends have gone through. But it is also a way to leave behind our guilt and pave the way forward. It is a life-giving affirmation.
Happy New Year everyone!