The city that never sleeps wore a deserted look with practically every shop in Mumbai downing its shutters as soon as the news about Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's passing away spread. The number of vehicles on Maximum City's streets also dwindled rapidly in a clear indication that citizens were not willing to take a chance with possible cases of stone throwing and rioting. By about 7pm, most roads wore a deserted look as taxis and autos refused to ply and one had to rely solely on the suburban railway network and BEST bus service for their commute.
It was here that some Mumbaikars rose to the occasion to help their brethren get home safely, using social media to reach out to those who had been stranded. Twitter users employed hashtags like #mumsafe, #khaaliseat (empty seat for the uninitiated), #carpoolmumbai and #carpool to inform the public about the availability of pick up or drop facilities, and also to take requests from commuters.
Some even used spreadsheets on which stranded passengers could feed in their personal information so that anyone going on their same route could help them out. Care was taken to ensure that privacy of the individual putting in his request was not violated.
Here are some of the tweets that did the rounds on November 17
Avi Sharma @AviBsharma
If you want some of your data to be deleted from the spreadsheet, just let me know from the #CarpoolMumbai spreadsheet.
My dads moving around in the car between Khar, Bandra and Santacruz to help anyone stuck. Let me know if help needed... #carpoolmumbai
Avi Sharma @AviBsharma
#CarpoolMumbai Guys, @bhavikblues is providing lift for 1 between Kandivali till Airport at 2am.
Madhuri Banerjee @Madhuribanerjee
Gurudwara's all around #Mumbai are open. In case you are stranded. Langar and stay will be provided till situation is normal. Amazing city!
Things will remain the same on Sunday, November 18, as autos and taxis continue to stay off until late evening or possibly midnight. Numerous roads have been cordoned off as Bal Thackeray makes his final journey on the deserted streets of the financial capital. But, while the actual numbers are not known, there is little doubt that at least some Mumbaikars will have to thank the tweeting community for ensuring that they got home safely on the 17th. This city still has a heart, and a large one at that.