As the horizon scrapes at the crimson side of the evening with Diwali just a few days away, some people are getting dressed in their traditional best and heading to card parties being hosted by their ilk in the lavish confines of their homes or at farmhouses on the outskirts of the tricity.
This year the Diwali card parties are witnessing high stakes, which rise above a few lakhs and also involve gold jewellery and expensive gifts, which range from Swiss watches to i-Phones to tickets to exotic locales. We track the spicy ingredients of the card parties happening around town.
"Like every year, this year too our family kitty circle is holding card parties, which generally start a week before Diwali. This year, while men are betting cash in lakhs, women are putting their jewellery and expensive watches on table. In fact, I won a Rado watch, while my husband lost Rs five lakh in a game," shares Shweta Mahendru, wife of a leading businessman from the city.
While Tania Chibber, an interior designer who runs Designer Dreams from Sector 2 in Panchkula, chips in, "This year card parties are more about expensive gifts than money. This time our group is betting on exotic vacation packages to Europe and the US, besides betting on designer things such as handbags and watches."
The card parties are being held at plush homes and also at hotel rooms in five-star hotels.Many hi-profile card parties are being held at farmhouses on the outskirts. "These farmhouse parties also see the presence of female and male escorts, there are DJs and caterers to serve the guests who are around 30-40 in number. Men and women play in different circles. While men put money on stake, women risk jewellery, handbags and watches. The dress code is traditional," shares Reet Sandhu, wife of a merchant navy officer and a regular at these parties.
The manager of a popular farmhouse on the outskirts of the city shares on the condition of anonymity, "Outwardly these parties look like any other to escape cops' attention. People at such parties include businessmen, real estate agents, restaurateurs; families of some politicians and cops also participate in such parties."
The popular card games being played this year are Rummy and Flash (teen patti). "There are snacks, drinks and various versions of the game flash are played," says Blossom Kochhar, beauty expert. "Parties have hookas and free-flowing alcohol. Those who don't play cards opt for tambola," says fashion designer Shivali Misra Seth.