The mortal remains of former Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray were consigned to flames as lakhs of mourners joined his grieving family to bid him a tearful farewell, with the city observing a virtual shutdown.
In a spontaneous outpouring of grief, a sea of humanity descended on the streets leading from Matoshree, Thackeray's Bandra home, to Shivaji Park, to catch his last glimpse.
As several times in life, the Thackeray phenomenon was in evidence once again in death as he brought Mumbai to a halt with all markets, from the swanky malls to the tiny tea stalls and 'paan-beedi' kiosks, closed and all roads leading to Matoshree, Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar and Shivaji Park, where his last rites were performed.
Loud roars of “Parat ya parat ya Balasaheb parat ya (Come back, come back, Balasaheb come back), Kon ala re, kon ala Shiv Senecha wagh ala (Who has come, who has come, Shiv Sena's tiger has come)” and “Balasaheb amar rahe” (long live Balasaheb) rent the air as an emotional Uddhav, the youngest son of the departed leader and Sena's executive president, lit the pyre.
In a reflection of the respect Thackeray commanded across the board, a galaxy of politicians, from allies to rivals, film stars to captains of industry were in attendance.