You know a city is evolving when it has a substantial number of youth still residing there and participating in its fairs, festivals, championships and proud to belong to it. Today, a number of the older cities have seen an out-migration by its youth to other parts of the country in search of jobs. Pune, Gurgaon and Bangalore tell a very different story due to the tech boom and consequent inflows of large numbers of people whose search of better jobs and a higher standard of living has lead them to these technology hubs.

Jamshedpur, although a much smaller city, is obviously is doing something right as there are plenty of jobs for qualified students, well-established academic institutions, both schools and colleges, a clean, safe and pollution-free environment and well-maintained parks with beautifully manicured lawns, sprouting water fountains, a number of cafes, restaurants and night spots, large shopping malls and most importantly, children and youth enjoying these facilities with family and friends.

A recent visit took us to some of parks including the Dorabjee Tata, Jubilee and Bhatia Parks and we found a number of infants playing on the swings with their parents whilst others were throwing around a ball.

Teenagers were either with their dates or families and friends, some were reading books whilst a photography club had its members clicking away on their cameras and enthusiastic athletic group were seen doing multiple push-ups on the lawns. Grand-parents were enjoying their grand-kids’ attention with gurgles and peals of laughter ringing through the parks. No one was in a dashing hurry to get to the next spot or selfie opportunity (as we find in many larger cities) and yet despite the flurry of activity, there was a real sense of tranquility for those of us visiting from Kolkata.

On the next day we were lucky to have enjoyed the Tata Steel Winterfest Carnival (December 15-18) with a number of floats, dancers, vintage cars, and sporting clubs participating. We made our way to the start of the parade where a large vehicle was blasting some of the most popular international beats with dancers on stilts and singers on the float. All quite reminiscent of New Orleans or Havana for those that has been there.

Beautifully maintained vintage cars with their occupants bedecked in period costumes smiled graciously at us and when I went up to chat with these strangers, I realized that they were friends of my husband! An overhead helicopter rained beautiful marigolds on all of us and it was just a lovely start to the parade.

We then made a mad dash to the middle of the route through which the parade was supposed to pass and witnessed a fantastic and joyous scene. Tribal women enjoined with each other swaying to the beats of drums and music were followed by young karatekas showing off their katas with crisp movements, kids on rollerblades tentatively keeping in line, with soccer clubs kicking around their ball and basketball fans dribbling each other. The cricket club had its enthusiasts playing air cricket, young pugilists throwing punches at each other and the NCC cadets marched in unison to the beats of an army band.

I was particularly captivated by a Broadway-styled cat who decided to pose with me in the center of the pageant following which the bhangra dancers, some of whom enthusiastically performed their balle balle moves and implored me to join in their festivities; as people lined up on the side-walks and were cheering on their friends.

The common thread to all the celebrations was that this was a very youth-oriented parade with loads of sport-related activities and participants. To my knowledge there is no other city in the country, except for Goa which has anything remotely like this. So if you want to enjoy yourself and be part of something much larger, visit the Jamshedpur Winterfest. This not only includes a parade, but also dancing, singing and art competitions culminating in professional dancers and singers (with Jubin Nautiyal rocking the grounds live), MasterChef cook-outs and several other activities all under one roof.

Where would you be so entertained in winter without a club membership in any other city in the country? Nowhere. So check out the site for a schedule of activities and book your next family vacation in advance to enjoy something special and quite spectacular in Eastern India.

Photo credit: Tehnaz Dastoor