Friday, November 26, 2010

Remember, remember twenty sixth of november...

...gunpowder, treason, plot and all of that!

Two years ago, I was studying for the last of my 3rd semester end examinations. One of my friends barges in the room and says, "Mumbai mein firing ho rahi hai. News channels par aa raha hai."
 My first reaction was that it must be a political thing. Having grown up in one of the safer cities, terrorist attacks had always seemed distant to me. Something you read in the papers or hear about on the television. I assumed it would be a one time thing and would get over in a couple of hours and went to sleep early because of the test. Returning from the examination, I asked a stationery shop owner about the situation. "Un logon ne Taj Hotel kabza kar liya hai aur wahan se firing kar rahe hai. Ab tak chalu hai." The gravity of the situation was slowly dawning upon me. Mumbai was under attack! And, I had a flight back home in 5 hours.

After frantic calling, it was decided that the roads were safe now that the firing was confined to the Hotels. Trains in the Central Line were cancelled. Luckily, I was flying this time instead of travelling by train. On the way to the airport, the auto rickshaw driver said to me, as we were passing near Vile Parle, "yaha pe bom phata tha kal". Of course I later realized that it was not true. But the city showed no signs of terror. Except those who stayed inside, the road to airport seemed normal - almost too normal. The airport security was beefed up and was emptier than usual. By 8pm on the 27/11/08, I was home and safe.

That was my 26/11 story - the story of a Mumbaikar who was fortunate enough not to have been affected by the inhuman atrocities on that day. Two years on, I am flying home after my exams again on the 27th of November and I can bet that tomorrow when I pass through the streets, there will nothing more than billboards around the city reminding us of that day.


Onshui said...

I'd hit a night out on the 25th-26th night as my exams had ended on the 25th. I woke up late and was just getting back from dinner outside when upon entering the hostel, I heard people say CST pe firing ho rahi hai. A group of 15-20 friends had gone to the CST and SoBo at the same time and we were desperate to make sure they were okay. They were, they'd just made it.
There were a few who were trapped in SoBo without a means of return. One of them close of one of the girls here. He lied to her saying he was at a friend's place and was okay. But actually, he spent the night inside a locked down restaurant, with no means of transport to return, with the owners - right on the street behind the Taj (or so I hear).
More chilling recounts on the next day.
But Mumbai picked itself up, brushed it off and carried on very soon after.
I admire this city's spirit.

Ankur said...

Yea but we are more accommodating than is good for us.

MJ said...

One of my friends was lucky enough to not get a table at the leopold that night. And was locked in a restaurant next to it!
BTW, there was a bomb blast at vile parle in a taxi that night, that was true.
That apart, India is more accomodating than it should be. Its weird how they can't come to a conclusion about Kasab. It's just SAD.

Ankur said...

I know there was a bomb blast in Parle. Just that it didn't happen where I was passing through. You know how anything out of the normal in such situations gets linked to the one incident. That is what I meant. :)

I am not sure if it's sad that we haven't been able to close our case on Kasab. When there have been hundreds of charges filed against a guy, you most definitely have to argue for each case and it does take time. Plus, there were some hiccups with regards to the government lawyers assigned to him.

Post a Comment