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No fireworks or music, it's stars and chirps here

Humaira Ansari, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 27, 2012
First Published: 02:10 IST(27/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:12 IST(27/12/2012)

Samarjit and Isha Sawant are excited to ring in 2013 under a starlit sky, dining on a spread of dishes from Chinese and Indian cuisines.


Their dinner, however, is not in a fancy restaurant but on the 2,000-square foot terrace of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Conservation Education Centre in Goregaon.

"We wanted to celebrate New Year's Eve differently," says Samarjit, 27, a management executive and Mahim resident. "And what better way to begin a new year than in the lap of nature, among fellow nature-lovers?"

The Sawants are among 15 Mumbaiites who have chosen to usher in the New Year at an eco-friendly camp organised, for the second year in a row, by the BNHS.

The six-hour event will start at 6pm on New Year's Eve (Monday) with a dusk trail through the Goregaon forest area around the centre, followed by a wildlife quiz, treasure hunt and dinner under the stars. At midnight, the group will make a New Year resolution to live in a more eco-friendly manner in 2013.

"New Year's Eve is not just about alcohol, music and partying," says Amandeep Kaur, an education officer with the Conservation Education Centre. "This event is for those who want to do something meaningful and celebrate with their loved ones in a quiet, calm environment."

So far, a mix of couples, families, friends and senior citizens has registered for the six-hour programme.

"Usually, we host a non-alcoholic get-together at our home and watch a movie," says Neelaja Pradhan, 59, a homemaker and King's Cirlce resident. "This time, my husband and I decided to listen to some nocturnal birds and animals instead of the sounds of firecrackers and loud music."

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