Posts Tagged ‘Taj Hotel

05
Dec
08

Mumbai Attacks: Way To Close To Home

The world has now become very familiar with Mumbai. Not because of some blockbuster Bollywood extravaganza or some technological discovery but for the worst terrorist attack ever that killed more than 170 innocent people sending shock waves through the city of 19 million people.

It was way to close to home.

For me,  Mumbai is my second home. For almost two decades, as an journalist & producer,  I have travelled to the exotic city for stories, personal visits, Bollywood interviews, weddings,  film premieres,  you name it..I have gone to Mumbai for it! I have seen the city transform over the years into a modern, energetic and incredible place for the world to visit. 

Picture of the majestic Taj Hotel taken on my last trip to India in 2006.

Picture of the majestic Taj Hotel taken on my last trip to India in 2006.

Special memories of dining at the Taj Hotel attending social gatherings and Bollywood parties at the historical venue or just hanging out with friends while enjoying a strong cup of chai at the Leopold Cafe, were all flashing before my eyes as I saw the attacks on television. Could this be really happening? I had to ask that question to myself over and over again in disbelief.

 The Taj? No way. I thought places like the Taj were not targets of terror but luxurious places of safety & pleasure. But like many of us, I was boldly incorrect and a bit naive I might add as well.

The first thing I did was text all my friends/relatives/contacts to make sure they were ok. Thank God they were. Then I continued to get updated text messages from my journalist friends staying in Mumbai telling me what was happening. They were scared and filled with uncertainty- I can sense it in their texts. Many had rushed to shelter in strangers apts for the moment while others made quick new friends trying to get out of the city back to NY. A few were concerned about the safety of the other historical buildings like the famed Gate of India or the famous temples. At that particular moment, nothing seemed safe said one contact.  

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus that was attacked really hit close to home.  I have been to and travelled to that station dozens of times over the years.  Even in the worst monsoon season with torrential downpours, that station never closes. But all I could see on TV were empty halls &  blood stained floors.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai, India. A lifeline for millions of daily commuters.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai, India. A lifeline for millions of daily commuters.

The last time I was in India, a bomb went off near another hotel I was staying at in Mumbai and immediately the staff advised all of us foreigners to stay in our rooms and not to open the door until told to do so. Flashbacks were coming back indeed.

The attacks maybe over, but the residue and images of  terror will be lingering on for time to come. “The city is slowly getting back to normal” said my friend Rahul, an producer in Mumbai. “But there is a still a bit of a fear factor in the eyes of people walking the streets” he cautiously commented.

I am planning on going to Mumbai soon with my best friends. The trip was planned way before the attacks. “Are you still going to go?” asks my friend Rachel who like many who are concerned about people going to India now.   “Of course without a doubt “. I replied.

Without a doubt.

Ravi




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