Anticipating the worst after Thackeray’s death, people were found rushing to their nearest store to stock up on milk, vegetables and essentials. Shopping and partying took a backseat on Saturday as people rushed home to ensure that they were prepared for the next few days, even as Shiv Sainiks went about shutting shops and taking vehicles off the roads.
Supermarkets and stores in the city were busy catering to thousands of people, who thronged there minutes before they were shut by Shiv Sainiks. A grocery store owner in Santacruz said, “I had more than 100 sales done in the hour before I shut the store. People were in such panic around the area.”
Dadar and Parel area, known for being Shiv Sena stronghold, bore a deserted look soon after official announcement of Bal Thackeray’s death; a huge queue was seen at the open shops. Almost all shops were closed by 5.15pm except for a few milk, mutton and wine shops. Sachin Shinde, 25, a Shivaji Park resident who stood in a long queue to buy milk at a Dadar store said, “I don’t know what is going to happen today or tomorrow. Its better to store essential things.” People were also seen buying vegetables in bulk.
Sayali Mane, standing at a chicken shop in a long queue, said, “Eggs and chickens can be stored in fridge for more time so I came here only to see that others thought the same.” A large number of people were seen rushing to nearby wine shops in Dadar and Parel.
Since this was Diwali week, a lot of people’s holiday and weekend plans were ruined. Vicky Oberoi, a marketing professional who had movie and dinner plans on Saturday, quickly cancelled everything to head home. “I went out to buy milk, rice and vegetables so that I don’t starve for the next two days.” for Diya Sharma, who was in town just for the Diwali week, this widespread panic has ruined her plans.
“I am supposed to visit a few of my relatives over the weekend. I couldn’t find any cabs yesterday evening and had to cancel my plans. I hope this doesn’t continue.”
Many Mumbaikars feel that shutting the city is really not the way to mourn or express sorrow. Siddharth Garg, an IT consultant, feels that such acts only inconvenience people more. “There is no doubt that the news is sad but what do people achieve by shutting shops and taking vehicles off the roads? It is the common man that is affected.”
Priya Bhangera, a housewife said, “This is supposed to be a holiday week and I have a lot of guests visiting in the next three days. I haven’t stocked up for an emergency.” Sanjukta Mukherjee, who has come down from Calcutta, two days ago, to meet her fiancé feels the timing of her visit was bad.