Just a day after my last post, Bala Saheb Thackeray passed away. I was in South Bombay then, and I live in suburbs. The moment we got the news, everybody panicked. Everyone was scared, and the sole aim was to reach home safely. People took whatever transport they could find and rushed. Within fifteen odd minutes, cabs started refusing to take passengers. Within one hour, each and every shop was shut. It looked as if the city was dead and not a person.
I would have really appreciated this if this bandh was not out of fear. Even I panicked. I left town the moment I heard the news. From Colaba to home on a bike, we took longer routes and avoided Sena areas. Thankfully we were on a bike as it was easy to navigate through traffic. By the time we reached Bandra, it was almost dark. We decided to take the link road route as we know quite a few people there. Thus if there was any problem anywhere, we could have gone and stayed there.
Now, I have never ever seen Bombay THIS dead. It was more than an hour since they declared that he was dead and almost all the autos and taxis were off the roads. There was little traffic on the roads. In some areas, even the street lights were turned off. The worst thing was when even medical stores were asked to shut down. I saw a few people asking petrol pump guys to shut down too.
Bombay has been dead since last evening. Not a single shop is open anywhere. Rather, let me put it this way - not a single shop is open anywhere officially. If you go in the market, everything is available, at a higher rate and at the back gate. What's the point of such a bandh? Bala Saheb Thackeray always aimed at the welfare of middle class marathi manus and today the same marathi manus is paying double the price for basic necessities.
Bala Saheb loved Mumbai. And the same city is being terrorised by his followers on his death day. We had to pay a higher rate for milk as my niece is young and she needs it. That too it was of pathetic quality. Thankfully nobody is ill. I don't know how we would have managed that situation, for mom falls ill frequently. Niece is allergic to smoke and dust, she is recovering too post Diwali.
Yes it's a bandh day. No restaurants are open, no theatres are open, even cable TV has been forced to shut down. Thankfully internet is working. And I hope it keeps working even after I publish this post. There are rumours of Bombay being bandh tomorrow too. Which I doubt will happen, but you may never know. And I hope my 15 day bandh prediction in the previous post doesn't come true either. I hate to see Bombay dead. It's good busy and shining, in traffic and crowded. It's dead when it's dull. And I don't like it.
Hope to see the normal Bombay soon enough.