Most Gracious ILites, Thanks for the really ‘overwhelming’ response for the Gossip Thread. I do plan to take up such serious topics alternating them with some light-heated topics. (ILites who want me to touch upon any sensitive topics, may please pm their suggestions to me.) This week, with the holiday mood lifting us to increased levels of buoyancy, let us talk about something light. I would like to share my experiences about a memorable new year celebration I had a few years back. I am not at all favourably inclined to new year celebrations. I don’t go out to a hotel, do not travel out of my place during that time. I would rather prefer a day of productive work and an evening of creative writing as the most proper new year celebration. But it happened once, I think in 1999, that I was obliged to attend a new year party at a Star Hotel in <st1:City><st1lace>Madurai</st1lace></st1:City>. One of my young clients wanted to celebrate new year in style and he had paid, and exorbitantly so, for the admission of almost all of his friends. I did not have the heart to refuse his kind invitation especially after learning that he had paid so much on my account. So at <st1:time minute="30" hour="8">half past eight</st1:time> on the new years eve I dressed myself with extra care to be present in the celebration venue, absolutely ignorant of what that year and that celebration was going to teach me. When I entered, the bar had been opened already and people were in the middle of their drinks. I checked the time. There was three and a half hours for the birth of the new year. ‘If people start to drink from now onwards (I did not have any clue when they actually started) what would be their state of mind and body when the new year is to be ushered in!’ But it was quite interesting and even amusing to see some of the most serious businessmen and much respected VVIPs of the city, totally relaxed with their glasses of drinks! Though I don’t drink, I love to converse with people who really enjoy their drinks. Their inhibitions and defences are down and the conversation assumes an unexpected shade of authenticity. We discussed about the year that was gone and the year that was to come in. We discussed about the celebrations happening in the various other venues, the charges, the kind of entertainment that is given and so on. At about <st1:time hour="22" minute="0">10 PM</st1:time> the dance floor was open. I had never seen that kind of dancing in my life. Men and women were dancing with gay abandon. Though I was happy to see them happy, I was a little worried. The men have been drinking like fish since 8 30. And they were dancing with women, were in the close company of women, in a semi-dark dancing floor. Honestly I have never subscribed to the views of Western Culture. If you want a very candid opinion from me, I will go further and explain. You see in the West, in <st1lace>Europe</st1lace> and parts of <st1:country-region><st1lace>America</st1lace></st1:country-region>, the weather is very cold. The outside temperature will be sub-zero with snow falling most of the time. For them to turn themselves on they need drinks and closeness of women company. It is a kind of given in their culture. But ours is a tropical country. Even in the worst of winters the temperature will be hovering around 21 to 23 degrees celsius. We do not need those props to arouse ourselves. And if we are going to blindly ape the West in this matter, we are in for sure trouble, as I found out that day.