Home > India > Terror in Mumbai: personal update – II

Terror in Mumbai: personal update – II

November 28, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

The media continues to cover the mayhem in Mumbai but the overall situation is still grim after 46+ hours.   The hostage crises in all three locations have now shifted to a mop up operation.  But it is only now that we are beginning to absorb the magnitude of this tragedy.  The death toll as of now is over 150 and 300+ were injured.

At the Oberoi, most of the casualties are being reported at the main restaurants in the hotel where the terrorists opened indiscriminate AK-47 fire and lobbed grenades at 10pm on Wednesday (peak dinner hour in India).  Tiffin is the lobby breakfast nook and also serves a good Japanese menu the rest of the day (one of the few places I eat Sushi in the city).   Kandahar is the traditional Indian restaurant on the mezz level.  During the 6 weeks we spent at the hotel, we ate breakfast at Tiffin everyday and most of our other meals were spread between the two restaurants.  We got to know most of the staff personally; they had befriended our daughters and knew their stuffed animals by name.   All these folks continued to put guests ahead of themselves as they were trained to do and likely lost their lives. We continue to wait for news of their wellbeing but fear the worst as bodies continue to be identified.  It further horrified me to see the very rooms we occupied go up in flames.

The Taj Palace Hotel is a gorgeous building and I was there a few days ago to attend a bankers’ event to discuss the impact of the global financial meltdown.   My connection to the hotel is less personal but it is the second venue for deal making in this town that we used to frequent. It is shocking to see the palace go up in flames.  It is just as shocking to see commandos shooting grenades into it to flush out the turds who continue to hide in there.

Several unsavory aspects of the tragedy are also coming to my attention.  There were several rumors floating around today about the violence having spread beyond the three sites where the battles still raged on all day today.  These were clearly unfounded.  The authorities resorted to blacking out new channels in several parts of the city and also mobile phones this afternoon.   That was ill advised and the services were restored after a couple of hours.  Luckily the situation did not get out of hand today.  Meanwhile, several politicians have started to make hay bu politicizing the handling of the crisis.   Some parts of the city seem very apathetic to the situation in the downtown area: I hear firecrackers associated with celebrations going off.  Parties and music related to weddings continue in some neighborhoods.  All this even as every channel on TV shows bodies being pulled out of the hotels and the Jewish center.  Resilience?  Apathy?  Taking a stand? I do not know.

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