New Year's Eve
Partying Dhaka Style
SRABONTI NARMEEN ALI
New Year's Eve is usually a
blur of excitement and activity for people around the world.
Although life never really changes and moves on as it did
before, most people consider new year's a new beginning:
a fresh start, a chance to wrong rights, a reason to change
a certain way of life, a deadline for reaching goals. But
does anything ever change? Rarely. Nevertheless, nobody
stops trying. We all keep wishing to make a significant
change in our lives and what better way to start that off
than a great New Year's bash?
Exposure to the outside world through travelling,
TV and movies has shown Dhaka's young population that there
are so many opportunities for young people to have fun:
coffee shops, movie theatres, hang out joints, nightclubs.
Although certain hang out spots are popping up from time
to time, they are still few, and Dhaka's youngsters still
await their "time to disco." New Year's Eve presents
us with the opportunity, or so we keep telling ourselves.
New Year's in Dhaka is definitely something
to look forward to for Dhaka's younger generation. Starting
from the beginning of December one question floats around
in circles all over the city: what are you doing on the
31st? For the "lucky" minority who deigns Dhaka
to be beneath them, the answer is prompt: I'm going away.
This statement is usually followed by ooh's and aah's and
"you're so lucky, I'm stranded here."
For the rest of us who decide to try our
luck out, and stay here instead, what does Dhaka city have
For the last few years', party-goers opted
for parties held at the Sheraton or Sonargaon Hotels. Jetset
P.R. organised parties at Sonargaon in 2002 and in Sheraton
both in 2003 and 2004. Sheraton's highlights this year included
the band High Times, MTV VJ from London, Steve Ellington,
China White's DJ Mo, and a three-girl-band called Baby Strange.
Jetset P.R. also organised the entertainment at the International
Club, where Bangali Canadian based Rap artist Hasib Paco
Mosharraf alias LiquidSilva performed at the International
Club along Pentagon, one of Dhaka's most promising bands
along with DJ Candace from London and two club dancers from
"The bands and entertainment at the
International Club were really good," says twenty-six
year old Bidisha. "It was cool because there were a
number of different things you could do. You were not just
stuck with one form of entertainment. You could listen to
the band, you could hang out with friends, or you could
go on the dance floor."
This year many of Dhaka's "connoisseur"
party animals had a rare opportunity. For those select few,
who choose familiarity over dhoom dham, new year's
presented a smaller, more comfortable ambiance. A mysterious
party (by invite only) was arranged for the crowd who prefers
friends and more friends, instead of a sea of unknown faces.
The "other party" was organised in the span of
about four days and held at Topkapi. Despite the last minute
arrangements, the party came fully equipped with more than
one DJ, flashy colourful lights and an impressive sound
system, not to mention free food, and unlike any other party
in Dhaka, no entrance fee. Approximately four hundred "friends"
decorated the outside lawn, upstairs and downstairs of the
"It was the talk of the town,"
says twenty-eight-year old Riyad. "You could almost
call it a private party, but it wasn't really. It was basically
a huge get together working on the six degrees of separation
concept: you knew one person, who knew someone else, who
knew another person. It was great! Good music, good company,
and a great atmosphere. There was a rampage at the gates,
but security was so tight there, it was completely safe.
They even had a portable metal detector at the door. People
were dying to know what this mysterious party had that the
What the "other party" had was
a simple, local charm of its own, a reminder that Dhaka
is indeed, a small place. Proof that all you really need
to have a good time is the right ambiance.
"When you go abroad and go to a party,
you don't know anyone and it's ok, but when you are in Dhaka,
it's just weird to be at a party where you don't know half
the people there," says twenty-five-year old Saira.
"This year I finally felt like I was back in Dhaka.
I felt as if I was at home."
Some prefer the familiarity and comfort
of going "where everybody knows your name," while
others want the professional DJ's and entertainment from
abroad. Whatever it is, Dhaka might be able to offer you
some form of fun and entertainment on New Years Eve. Think
you were at the wrong party this year? There's always next