No time to party...

Limited options

No time to party...

It is a known fact that India has one of the youngest demographic profiles in the world. Within India itself, it is Bengaluru which has the epithet of being the city with the youngest population. With tags like ‘IT city’ and India’s ‘Silicon Valley’ and a burgeoning startup ecosystem, this is but natural and aspirants and hopefuls are making a beeline to Bengaluru. But as the cliche goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and residents in the city look forward to days when they can just let their hair down and relax. However, they find their options to be limited.

While the erstwhile pub city could have given serious competition to Mumbai for the title of the ‘entertainment capital’ of India, a 11.30 pm curfew has dealt a heavy blow. With many IT workers keeping late hours and a strong presence of foreigners, the wisdom behind this curfew is debatable.

“Nightlife in Bengaluru reminds me of Cinderella’s story but while she had time till midnight, we have to wind up by 11.30 pm. It is disappointing,” says Parvathy S Menon, a professional. “The cops aren’t friendly either and harass people, especially couples, who are out during the night. Possessing your own vehicle is also important as travelling by autos after 11.30 pm means having to shell out a fortune.” With even the Metro services shutting down by 10 pm, this seems to be a common grouse.

“People here are keen on partying but the deadline has not left them with any choice,” says Kaushik M Shetty, a process specialist.

“However, you can find a lot of house parties or private get-togethers happening where people have fun till late. Late nights also give you a chance to drive peacefully on empty roads which are a rarity in Bengaluru. But policemen are present at almost every corner and they don’t make life any easierfor you.”

Bengalureans have devised the ‘private party’ theme to outdo the authorities. Many private parties take place on the outskirts of the city, such as on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Road, and most of the time, these are not even private. one can get in by paying an entry fee. And these have many takers among the youngsters who like to
explore the nightlife.

There was a time when the authorities allowed restaurants to stay open till 1 am, out of solidarity with the late night worker. Pubs and bars were also permitted to stay open till 1 am but only on weekends. But the timeline for this extension ran out sometime ago and there have been no efforts to renew it. However, not everyone is miffed.

“Despite a night curfew, this place still gives a tough competition to other cities with its collection of rooftop lounges, crafted beer bars and dozens of other venues,” says Meghna, an HR executive, who has been here for 3 years now.

“The nights in Bengaluru are absolutely crazy but peaceful. Language may be a bit of a barrier if you are asking for directions during the night as there are not many people on the roads. But still, it is a safe city!”

While it is true that Bengaluru is a safe city compared to many others, residents feel it will be even safer if there are people out on the roads after midnight, as in Delhi and Mumbai.

Relaxed deadlines, better transport facilities, a check on late-night auto fares
and regular night patrol is what they have on their wishlist.

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