As news of Sena chief Bal Thackeray's passing away spread on Saturday evening, party strongholds including Parel, Girgaum, Lalbaug, Vile Parle, Dadar, Mulund, Bhandup, Dahisar and Goregaon all wore deserted looks. Shops closed down and vehicular movement crawled to a halt.
"We have lost our leader. He gave us self-belief, identity and courage. This is the saddest day in our lives," said Meena Bendre, a Parel resident, who will be heading to Shivaji Park early on Sunday morning to pay her last respects to the leader. "We will be indebted to him for a lifetime."
The Sena shakas, created by Thackeray as his local offices, were scenes of activity as cadres wrote details of Sunday's funeral on boards. "As a mark of respect, we will close our shops on Sunday too. We will pray for the well-being of the party," said Sushil Khamkar, who runs a shop in Lalbaug's Chiwda Galli.
The Sena headquarters Sena Bhavan at Dadar took down its Diwali decorations and the saffron flag that has long symbolised Sena's identity was wrapped up on Saturday as a mark of respect for the party's departed leader.
Avinash Hazare, 62, a Sena follower said, "I attended his first rally in 1966 and was mesmerised. I had never heard and seen such a fiery speech."