Miniature vuvuzelas screeched, plastic horns blared among the milling crowd, people thronged popular markets - Delhiites tonight let their hair down to ring in the new year with gusto.
As the clock struck 0000 hours, people wearing fancy masks honked car horns and exchanged hugs to usher in a new year with new hopes and aspirations. People thronged popular markets, malls and other hot spots to ring in the new year.
Connaught Place, epicenter of the capital's celebrations, was decorated and abuzz with people dressed in their festive best. The India Gate and other hotspots were swarmed with teenagers, couples, and children with their parents and friends dancing to the tunes played of their car stereos.
It was a no-vehicle zone this evening at Connaught Place to control the crowd in the New Year hotspot. Police personnel were in huge numbers there, keeping a close watch on the revelers but it did not deter them in letting their hairs down.
Policemen armed with alcometres were everywhere to check drunken driving as an additional 4,500 personnel were deployed across the city in the night to maintain law and order. Commissioner B K Gupta himself was at Connaught Place checking the preparations.
Although, most shops in Connaught Place were chock-a-block with people, it was the city's liquor shops and pubs that attracted the largest crowd.
"New Year's eve is the time when the city sees a spurt in alcohol consumption so most pubs across the city have come up with offers to add to the festive season," said a manager of a popular pub in Connaught Place.
"We have been given strict instructions to keep an eye on motorists drinking under the influence of alcohol and personnel have been stationed at various locations to ensure the same," said an official on duty.
For drunken driving, apart from fines up to Rs. 2,000 and suspension of driving licenses, defaulters may also be given a jail term.
But all these measures have done little to kill the festive spirit.
"The security might be a hindrance to some revelers but it will also keep them on their toes to behave responsibly, after all celebrations are all about having fun without being a nuisance to anyone," said Sanghamitra Banerjee, a market analyst, over the din of the thumping music in the background.