(courtesy IBN Live)
Day : 26/11/2008
Time : Evening
We all were at home, doing something or the other. Our neighbour comes and almost shouts at my sister "Do you know terrorist have attacked your hotel ?" We gave a puzzled look at her. "What ?" my sister managed to say. She works in Finance department of The Oberoi. "Switch on the tv. They are firing haywire, killing and holding hostages..."
The phone calls started pouring in to ask if my sister is fine. Thank God she was. Then we remembered a girl, once our neighbor, who worked for the call centre of The Oberoi. We called her at her residence. She was fine. We sighed. There were news about blasts and firing. We slept hearing all those and praying for the mayhem to end. But it continued the next day too. I reached my office. I was surprised to see mails from our Client's (Netherland) colleagues asking if everyone was safe. They were hooked to the news, also praying for the end of it. When I traveled back to home, I was surprised to see the usual populace in the trains. The incident hadn't made any changes to our life. Here I was traveling while the brutal terrorist were still firing in the Taj and Oberois, and so were the other public. Whatever happens, Mumbaikars can take anything. I can't decide if it's good or bad. The spirit is almost unshaken.
When I reached home, I found out that my sister had got a call from her employers that there would be leave till further notice. She also got to know the account of her friend's experience who work in shifts for the call center at the hotel. They were oblivious to the attack outside. Some staff came running to them and took them outside safely from the backdoor.
After a few days when my sister resumed work, she had lots of stories to tell, some of death while some of bravery. There were many stories to tell but one post wouldn't be enough. She told us how they entered, how people were rescued, how some unfortunate ones got trapped, how the whole building was ruined by bullets and the indelible blood stains everywhere, even the strongest of cleansing acid failed to remove it's presence. She told us that actually the terrorist were aiming at the new Oberoi tower and not the old Oberoi, but they got mislead between the passages from the hotel lobby. The stories of the restaurants almost shook us.
The hotel staff were instructed not to spill a word to the media and the hotel resumed it's work with a holy puja.
After all this suffering of the victims, their family and also those watching, I heard the most ridiculous statement ever. "Big cities faces these kind of small problems", said our Mr. home minister mocking the bravery of our soldiers.
After a few days when we visited my maushi's place (maternal aunt) my cousins who are kids in 4th and 1st standard were full of questions. They bombarded them to my sister one by one. I remember few years back when there were serial blasts in Mumbai trains, my young cousin was terrified with just the news. The younger didn't understood the impact but the older one was terribly shaken. She refused to go anywhere nearby a railway station. This is the effect of the attacks that we cope with but the young minds couldn't.
Even though the ministers were ridiculous over the whole thing, I salute the soldiers and the hotel staff who made the brave attempts to rescue the guests from the hotel restaurants and rooms without a second thought.
I salute the brave-hearts and pray a good life for them!