Remembering 26/11 Attacks: Here are four heart-rending stories of survivors
November 26, 2008, is one of the saddest days for every Indian. It has been 10 years since Mumbaikars witnessed one of the deadliest terror attacks that brought the nation to a standstill. At least 174 people, including the attackers, were killed while many who survived are still not past it. Here are stories of 4 survivors who lived to tell the tale.
10 LeT members carried out shootings, explosions in South Mumbai
10 years ago, 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic-terror organization, carried out shooting and bombing attacks in Mumbai. It lasted for four days. The places which witnessed the attacks include- Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Palace, Leopold Cafe, Cama Center, the Nariman House Jewish community center, and the Metro cinema. Few other areas in South Mumbai also faced explosions and shootings.
An event organizer's harrowing tale of rescue, panic at Taj
On the fateful day, a Banquet Manager at Taj, was hosting a party for 65 guests in the Banquet Hall. Soon, when the organizers came to know about the gunmen, they immediately locked all doors and switched off lights. When the guests started panicking, the organizers calmed them down as they didn't want to attract attention. The Banquet Manager herself tried not to panic.
She lied to her mother that she is safe
When the manager's mother called, she lied she's safe at home. She was scared to say goodbye. They all finally escaped at 5 in the morning through the window. When she met her mother, the latter first slapped her and then hugged her tight. It was extremely hard to move on for her, but her family at Taj helped her get through everything.
She recalls the incident and her miraculous survival
A normal evening turned ghastly for many at Leopold Cafe
This is the tale of Saurav Mishra, who was enjoying a normal evening with his two friends at the Leopold Cafe. Suddenly, Mishra saw a table at a nearby diner getting smashed. Mishra heard a blast and something hit him from behind. He immediately ran out of the pub. Next thing he saw was blood oozing out of his body parts.
When no one helped, a street-hawker took Mishra to hospital
Mishra couldn't move his right hand. After hopelessly shouting for help and reaching a point he couldn't move, a 19-year-old hawker grabbed him and took him to a hospital. Mishra's two friends were also injured and had hid under the table. They were later helped by two gentlemen. Mishra said that day, every hospital, doctor, and nurse restored his faith in Mumbai and humanity.
Taj's former executive chef recounts the gut-wrenching day
Hemant Oberoi, the former executive chef of Taj hotel, was wrapping up the day when he was informed about the terrorists. He immediately told his staff to switch off the lights. There were also scared guests at the Gateway room. Oberoi then took most of the guests to the Chambers as the terrorists kept moving. Meanwhile, the staff was in touch with the security-team.
Oberoi took to rescuing the guests, lost young-chefs
While they waited to be rescued, Oberoi and other chefs, started making sandwiches with anything at hand. Oberoi then blocked every passage to the Chambers and decided to start evacuating everyone. It was a short sprint from his office to the main road. Oberoi lost many young-chefs that day. He had to inform some of the families, it was the hardest thing for him.
Restaurant owner at CST saved many, but got shot twice
When the restaurant owner of 'Refresh' at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) station heard gunshots coming from the nearby washroom, he asked people to hide under the tables. And where was he? Standing outside and then got shot twice. Why was he standing outside? Because behind him stood 18 cylinders. If they had got shot, they would have exploded, killing all those he saved.
He was declared brain dead the next day, but survived
Thereafter, the brave man, with one bullet in the abdomen and one in the chest, took a cab to Bombay Hospital all alone. The following day, he slipped in coma and was declared dead. But, soon his organs started healing and he was back.
Remember the heroes: Mumbai Police, Taj staff and the Mumbaikars
There were many others like Saurav and Hemant, who had to witness one of the most terrifying days in the history of Mumbai. The genocide scarred the memories of many. But, let's not forget how the entire city stood united and came out of the attack. Hats off to the Mumbai Police, the Taj-staff and all the people of Mumbai who restored our faith in humanity.