Though you don’t need an excuse to exchange gifts, yesterday most Indians had one — Bhai Dooj.
However, those in Mumbai who had put off the purchasing till the last minute ended up frustrated as shops in most parts of the city remained closed owing to Bal Thackeray’s ill health. While some shopkeepers needed no prompting to keep their outlets shut, others were allegedly pressured to down shutters.
Celebrations were largely subdued. The usually crowded SV Road and Linking Road in the western suburbs bore a deserted look. Popular shopping destinations of Irla, Lokhandwala, Manish Nagar, Goregaon and Malad also witnessed few footfalls. Apart from garment shops, general stores and vegetable markets were also closed making things difficult for people to get through the day.
While some shopkeepers enjoyed a day off, others complained of losses. Shyam Bunnal, a shop owner at Andheri, said, “I have closed my outlet and will go off to sleep now. I will spend the rest of the day with my family. Being a Bal Thackeray follower, this is my way of showing respect.”
A garment storeowner at Lokhandwala, who did not wish to reveal his identity, said, “I will incur heavy losses by keeping my shop closed during this festive period, but I don’t want any kind of violence. So I have shut my shop, as other outlets around here are also closed.”
I wish I had bought my sister a gift on Wednesday. I didn’t know shops would be shut in Lokhandwala today. She wanted a saree and I had promised her one on Bhai Dooj. I got a sound thrashing from her after we finished our traditional puja
— Roopesh Arelly, a resident of Andheri
My brother wanted a pair of shoes for Bhai Dooj. But I could not take him shopping as everything around here is closed. He is very upset as he wanted to wear the new footwear to his college function on Friday
— Sheetal Rajesawant, a resident of Goregaon