This is a sensitive collection of first-hand accounts of the victims of terror attacks in Mumbai. Written by a journalist, working with The Statesman, this book documents the events of November 26, 2008 through stories of different survivors.
The terrorist attacks that shook Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008 and continued for 60 hours shocked and stunned the entire world. The booming sound of gunfire and the National Security Guards gunned down by the terrorists room by room will remain etched in India'scollective memory for years to come. Being no stranger to terrorist attacks, India has the uncanny ability to get back to normalcy rather fast. What makes the Mumbai terror strike so different and so much more alarming is not merely the ruthless slaughtering of human beings, but also the meticulous planning and preparation that went into the attack on the commercial and entertainment hub of the country. It was not just a physical assault but more of a psychological assault on the heart of the nation. Terrorists entered the city and carried out multiple attacks on carefully chosen targets.
Against this background, in the first story, the author talks of Ritu who reaches Mumbai to have some fun with her friends. Her husband from Delhi calls her at the Taj where she goes to have tea with friends. She walks out of the Harbour Bar to the passage and on returning to her table, hears gunshots in the passageway. As the confusion and panic grow, Ritu and friends huddle in one corner with Ritu'sonly thought being of what would happen to her children if she were to die in the shooting. More than death, it is the idea of being held hostage and tortured by a group of ?gun-wielding men? that scares her the most. Finally a plan is chalked out and Ritu is lucky to escape in the first batch. She says, ?We were lucky that we escaped unharmed.? But the next batch coming out of the Chambers is not that lucky. They are shot at by the terrorists. However, some from the second batch manage to escape. Here she points out that what irks her today is that there was one commando who was busy talking on his cell phone instead of doing something in the tense situation.
In another story, Chand Pasha, a chef in the Leopold Caf? hears gunshots, so he and 30 to 40 others hole up in the kitchen. Only when the police arrive that he begins searching for his brother. He dials his brother'scell number and is told by a strange voice on the other end that he had recovered the cell phone from a dead person'spocket. Pasha'ssorrow overwhelms him but he decides to cope with his grief by working more seriously and for longer hours so as to help out his brother'sfamily.
In short, the author has tried to document the events of 26 November through her stories told by the survivors and while narrating their experiences, she brings in politics surrounding the incident and its aftermath to convey to the readers.
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