At the stroke of midnight, thousands of revellers erupted in joy and greeted each other a "very Happy New Year" while youngsters broke into hip dance and shook a leg to the music of gangnam at a dozen hotspots across this tech hub to usher in 2013.
Even as hundreds of baton-wielding cops watched the revelry with a hawk's eye to weed out mischief makers and potential eve-teasers, about 5,000 revellers thronged popular jaunts like Brigade Road, M.G. Road, Commercial Street and Church Street in downtown to celebrate the annual occasion, albeit on a subdued note.
"We are excited to be here at this odd hour on a cool night. We want to forget a dreadful 2012 and step into the new year with hopes and prayers for a better, safer and rewarding 2013," Uttam Kumar, a techie, told IANS.
Unlike in the previous years, absence of womenfolk, especially girls in large numbers at busy junctions and favourite jaunts was conspicuous, as many of them opted to stay away from milling crowds for safety and security reasons.
With hundreds of youth resolving to keep the event low-key as a fitting tribute to the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim, turnout of revellers at pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels was less than in the previous years.
"We have decided to skip the New Year fete this time as we have been mourning the tragic death of the rape victim in Singapore early on Saturday after a 13-day ordeal and seeking justice to rest her soul in peace by hanging her perpetrators," Meenakshi Sundaram, an executive in a private firm said.
Though police resorted to caning hundreds of youth well past midnight at Brigade Road to prevent stampede and regulate crowds surging towards the other end of the road, top police officials, including city commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji heaved a sigh of relief as the midnight celebrations passed off smoothly without any major untoward incident.
"We are relieved that the delirious crowds are under control and many of them cooperated with us by not bringing vehicles and not parking in banned areas," Mirji told reporters taking a break from patrolling through the central business district.
Taking a cue from other cities across the country, about 10,000 police personnel were on night duty.
The city traffic police department also blocked vehicular movement on all flyovers across the city, from 9 pm on Monday to 6 am. Tuesday, to prevent untoward incidents or mishaps due to rash or drunken driving.