I HAVE A FRIEND who refuses to fall into the trap of celebrating an occasion on the right day. He's been loyal to the fetish for 20 years now. Earlier this month, he threw his birthday party twelve days ahead of the real day (for no apparent reason) and announced that he was rolling in the real Diwali as well into the celebrations. He is clearly of immense value to society. If more of us were like him, there'd be more to celebrate all year round. He's got another idiosyncrasy to go with that. He also serves unpredictable but always exceptional foods for the occasion. On one white-themed Christmas party, the white menu featured appams and ivory-coloured olan (pumpkin curry in coconut milk), cornsilk white payasam and a host of high-quality original, traditional foods including white-themed mocktails and cocktails. It was of course held three days after the expected date, and the best party I had attended in a long while.

Coming to think of, we're all a bit like him. We've had our moments of I-don't-want-to-celebrate-today-why-not-tomorrow? While you've thought that, you've probably also wondered why everyone has to celebrate the same thing the same way, year after year. Why indeed. I don’t know about other places, but ITC Hotels certainly caters to the wildly imaginative souls like ourselves in the year-end frenzy. My last message for the year is: eschew all those cookie cutter, dime-a-dozen year end bashes with a vengeance! Another world is possible. Like celebrating with Kebabs, Candles and Tandoori Vodka at Peshawri in ITC Sonar, Kolkata on the 24th and 31st of December. There’s a teppanyaki-themed New Year’s Eve waiting for you at Sheraton New Delhi’s Pan Asian and you can also pour yourself some defiant Irani Chai at ITC Grand Central’s Frederick's Lounge in Mumbai.

Take your pick from this a whole lot more and a have a great time ringing in the New Year in original style.