If you skipped office on Thursday, you might have a tough time explaining to your boss on Friday what or who stopped you from going.
Writers' functioned as usual, examinations were held on schedule, Sector V reported full attendance without companies arranging for transport and all flights left by the clock, making the BJP's bandh against petrol price rise look like a car sputtering on an empty tank.
The usual rush on the streets was missing mainly because shopkeepers in the traditional markets chose to down shutters for the day, as opposed to the malls that not only stayed open but also did brisk business for a weekday.
Burrabazar, the city's wholesale and retail hub for everything from iron nails to nail polish, had a mid-week Sunday with close to 500 clusters of shops at Posta, Kalakar Street, Strand Road, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Brabourne Road and Canning Street staying shut. It isn't a coincidence that the three wards comprising the business district ' 22, 23 and 42 ' have BJP councillors.
"The business community in Burrabazar has to toe the BJP's line. If we don't, we might face problems," said a member of the Rajakatra Traders' Association in Posta.
But why did shops down shutters in markets like Hatibagan and Shyambazar, where the BJP doesn't have much clout? "Maybe decades of following a bandh culture has made this a habit. Nobody enforced the bandh," said a member of the Hatibagan Shopowners' Welfare Association.
At Kankurgachhi, Pantaloons was open but most of the roadside shops were shut, reflecting the trend.
Those who stepped out faced no trouble finding transport. If anything, it was a smoother commute for many than they are used to on weekdays. State-run buses were available, as were autorickshaws on most routes. Metro Rail, the city's transport lifeline, also functioned normally.
BJP supporters did make a few attempts to disrupt life by resorting to vandalism, but were quickly dealt with.
"I found it so much easier to reach my workplace on Thursday than on a normal weekday," said Dominic Dass, a resident of Kasba.
Dass had set out for work along with wife Shelly like any other day. He took the Metro and Shelly hired a taxi from Gariahat to reach her Park Circus office.
Calcutta University held all its scheduled examinations ' MSc, BEd and LlB ' without absenteeism, said controller of examinations Onkar Sadhan Adhikary.
Colleges reported normal attendance. "We didn't notice any dip in attendance," said Debashis Chattopadhyay, the principal of South Calcutta Law College in Ballygunge.
At Writers' Buildings, attendance was between 88 and 92 per cent, said transport minister Madan Mitra. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee arrived at 11.20am.
Sector V, the tech hub, was so confident of a normal manday that no company arranged for "bandh transport" to ensure full attendance. During Left Front rule, many companies would deploy cars to ferry employees from home to office before a strike took effect.
"We did not make any special effort this time. We just asked our employees to report for work on time," said Kalyan Kar of Acclaris.
The airport, always a soft target for the bandh brigade, had an incident-free day. "No flight was cancelled," airport director B.P. Sharma said.
Many passengers had reached much ahead of time in apprehension of disruptions, only to find everything normal. Chandan Kumar Debnath, his wife and son waited outside the terminal for close to three hours before checking in for their 12.30pm IndiGo flight to Agartala. "I didn't want to take chances, so we came early," Debnath said.
Taxis were available in adequate numbers, as were air-conditioned buses.
Malls reported usual weekday footfalls, some saying that the crowd count for the day might even be higher than normal. "Looking at the people here, it is hard to imagine there's a bandh in the city," said a food court manager at South City Mall, where the footfall till 7pm was 25,000.
The mall trawlers included some who had skipped work. "Most of my colleagues decided not to go to office. So I planned a day out with friends," said Surbhi Agarwal, who works with a real estate firm.
Forum, on Elgin Road, reported an approximate footfall of 15,000 till 4pm. Mani Square and City Centre Salt Lake too had an average day.