The streets of Mumbai restored to normal after news of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s improving health spread on Friday.
On Thursday night, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray made an announcement that his father had started responding to treatment and his condition is stable.
Also, BEST buses and trains saw the usual number of commuters as people left for work. In spite of the improved situation, a large section of people still expect another “shut-down” soon.
Shubhashish Biswas, an MNC employee, said: “We were allowed to work from home on Thursday. Though the situation has improved on Friday, only 50% of the employees turned up at work. With the holiday week and the tense situation in the city, a few preferred to stay at home.”
Motorists were happy as there were few places that saw bumper-to-bumper traffic. “Instead of the 90 minutes that it usually takes, I reached Churchgate in 45 minutes,” said Antony Rodrigues, a resident of Kalina.
Even short-distance travel was easier for Mumbaikars. Amruta Deshpande, a pathology student from GT Hospital, takes a taxi from her home near St George’s Hospital daily. On Friday, she reached her workplace 15 minutes earlier than usual. “With the heavy vehicular traffic and crowd outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the travel usually takes at least 30 minutes, but I reached GT Hospital in a little more than 15 minutes on Friday,” she said.
But most shopkeepers are still cautious.
A shop owner at Zaveri Bazaar in south Mumbai, who did not want to be named, said: “As a precaution, I will keep my store closed for the next three days.”