The city came back to life on Friday morning after Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray announced that the Sena chief's condition was improving late on Thursday night.
Autorickhaws, taxis and buses were back on the roads as people resumed work on Friday. Even shops and petrol pumps opened early in the day.
"All taxi drivers resumed work and many plied in areas such as Bandra, Parel and Dadar, which were shut down on Thursday," said AL Quadros, a taxi union leader, adding that 90% did not ply their vehicles on Thursday. The taxi drivers must have lost their daily earnings of more than Rs. 500. About 800 TAB cabs also plied on the roads, compared to only 400 the day before.
The city came to a virtual standstill on Thursday after news of Thackeray's ill-health began doing the rounds. While in many areas people decided to shut shops, in other places Sainiks went around shutting establishments.
But the city heaved a sigh of relief with the positive news being reinforced by senior Sena leaders on Friday morning.
Many employees who had rushed home from their offices on Thursday returned to work. "I had returned home early since SMSes asking people to get home were doing the rounds," said Devika Srivastava, 26, a Breach Candy resident, who works as a copywriter at Goregaon. "The situation seemed much better on Friday," she said.
Petrol pumps opened to customers, though a few still remained closed. "Several pressure groups had forced gas stations to shut down in various areas, and at least two stations near Sena Bhavan at Dadar and on Veer Savarkar Road in Mahim remained closed even on Friday," said Rajiv Shinde, president, Petrol Dealers' Association.
Several shopkeepers who had closed their shops pulled up their shutters on Friday morning. "We had kept the shop closed on Thursday, but as the situation seemed better the next day, we resumed work," said Deepak Dedhia, owner of Manisha Stores, a grocery store in Bandra East.
Several businesses suffered losses. "We lost on daily revenue of about Rs. 8,000," said Romney Lobo, manager at Vaibhav Food Centre based in Kalanagar.