Citizens were forced to stay indoors as Mumbai came to a halt in the wake of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s funeral procession on Sunday. Unlike other Sundays, when people flock to malls, theatres, beaches or restaurants, this time, they were glued to their television screens watching the Sena chief’s last journey.
Cable operators had blocked entertainment channels too, and so, some decided to make the most of a holiday by either playing cricket or catching up on sleep.
Non-availability of essential commodities meant families had to make do with whatever was stocked up at home. “We were forced to have black tea as there was no milk,” said Andheri resident Sunaina Mohite. Parts of Dombivli, Kalyan and Thane did not get milk on Sunday.
“The milk vendor did not come, but we managed as we had made arrangements on Saturday,” said Abhimanyu Baste, Dombivli resident and badminton coach.
There was a strange quiet in housing societies too. Diwali parties and society meetings were cancelled. In some places, even medical shops were closed. “Forget milk, we did not even get medicines,” lamented Goregaon resident Gautam Benegal.
Cricket lovers took time out to watch the ongoing India versus England Test match. “Had the match been played in Mumbai or somewhere in Maharashtra, it would have been stopped. It’s good that it is being played in Ahmedabad,” said Shashikant Rathore who lives in the Sena stronghold of Dadar.
Thane resident Rohan More and his team organised a cricket match with a housing society nearby. “Instead of getting stressed by watching the funeral procession, we chose to play. It is rare to see the streets of Mumbai empty,” he said.
Pooja Narkar, an advertising professional who returned to Mumbai from Kerala, chose to stay at a friend’s place. “I stay at Mahim and could have easily reached home by taking a cab or an auto on any other day. However, because of the funeral procession, I stayed a friend’s place in Andheri. But reaching there was not easy. My friend had to come to the airport,” she said.