I remember my very first trip to Mumbai. The year was 1993, and among my prized possession from that trip is a photograph of me standing next to the Gateway with the heritage section of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in the background.I was a student a that time and was home for a vacation when the family had to go to Mumbai. I have been to Mumbai numerous times after that have visited that spot for the awe inspiring view several time sometimes even for a few minutes. I had great curiosity to see this hotel from inside and last year I got my chance, when I went to meet someone on work. I loved the corridors and the interiors of this hotel. In recent times they showed this hotel on the TV as part of some travel series and me and my wife loved watching it. We even discussed jokingly that we should save enough for a vacation in which we stay in a sea facing room at the Taj Mahal Hotel. One day, we said.
I hardly enjoyed the coverage this hotel got in last 3 days over TV. This time I wanted to switch off the TV not because I could not bear the sight of the fire, the sound of the gun and pain inflicted by a bunch of mad men. The walls will be rebuilt, the furniture and draperies and the chandeliers would be back too but the sight of Taj Mahal Hotel has changed forever. 200 people have died. The ‘common man’ died.
It brought the worst of some men and it brought the best out of others. I would never have known NSG Major Sandep Unnikrishnan or Havaldar Gajendra Singh, but after their supreme sacrifice in this Mumbai tragedy, I felt connected to both of them. The Fire Service men, the policemen, the soldiers, the staff at the hotels. I personally felt very-very small, almost miniscule, resulting from by my sofa set view of TV vs their action on the ground. You guys live, we are dead.
India lives on. And remembers its dead. We will be back in business soon. Jai Hind.