26/11: A date hard to forget - The New Indian Express

26/11: A date hard to forget

Published: 26th November 2012 09:06 AM

Last Updated: 26th November 2012 09:06 AM

Ghosts of 26/11 still haunt Karun Raman

Chennai: It may have taken four whole years for Kasab to be executed, but even that wasn’t as long as the 48 hours that Karun Raman and his friends spent holed-up inside a hotel room, after the attacks started. “Once we heard the shots, we ran back to the Ritz Carlton where we were staying and we locked ourselves in. We were so afraid that someone would burst into our rooms, that we stayed in a huddle for almost two whole days,” he recalls with a shudder.

Walking to the Oberoi Hotel for dinner, the popular city-based fashion choreographer-cum-designer was a much-sought after dance choreographer in 2008. Accompanied by a group of dancers, he was enjoying his time in Mumbai, when the shots began to ring out and people started saying the ‘terrorist’ word.

“It’s been four years since the Mumbai attacks, but the noise still lingers. It isn’t all the time, but every time I come across a newspaper article or see a clip on the news - the stress and fright of that day comes back. Honestly, I wish I could say after all this time that I’m over it, but the truth is, I still get goosebumps,” says Karun.

So was Kasab’s execution of any solace to him? Not really, but at least justice has been served, according to him. “I don’t know why authorities had to wait so long to bring Kasab to justice when they (authorities) confirmed he was one of the persons responsible right from the beginning,” he says.

Roy Rozario, Railway employee Roy Rozario spent most of November 26, 2008 preparing to receive guests. “It was my 50th birthday and I had invited around 50 people to celebrate the occasion, recalls the Anglo-Indian gentleman who has served for years in the Southern Railways. “Few of the guests had arrived when the news about the attacks in Mumbai came in. Immediately I called the others and told them that all celebrations were cancelled,” he says. They all watched news of the attacks trickle in and in hindsight, he believes that it was good that he cancelled his birthday celebrations then. He later had a get-together on November 30, where everyone observed a solemn moment of silence and prayed for the victims and their families. Since then, Roy has celebrated his birthday the day before or a few days after the actual date. “It has given me a strange sort of scare. I already had a thanksgiving mass on Saturday, and as always, a special prayer was made for the 164 people who lost their lives. It will always remain with me,” says Roy.

Persis Isaac, College Student It was a normal Wednesday evening; I had come from school, finished my homework and sat down to watch TV when my dad called us from office and told us to watch the news about the bomb blasts that took place in Mumbai. Tuning in, I  got really worried because one of my close friends lives in Colaba, which is really close to Nariman Point where some of explosions took place. It is also relatively close to the Taj hotel. It was an eerie feeling because just a month ago I had gone to Mumbai and visited all these places.

When I saw the Leopold Cafe go up in smoke, I really felt very sad and shocked that such terrorist activity had taken place on our soil.  I immediately called my friend and got really frightened when I couldn’t get through to her.

I called her number and her parents phones as well; I even called her on the land line but I couldn’t get reach her. After a while, she answered the call and told me she was okay and nothing had happened to her and her family was safe. She was so worried that she started crying, and in turn, I too burst into tears. Later that night none of us slept; we kept the news channels on and watched it the whole night. Even though I was not there physically, it was a traumatic experience for me.

Seshadri, Asst Consultant at an IT organisation It was through a media report that I came to know of the attack. My colleagues were buzzing with activity about the disaster. A TV report, however, confirmed the attack. I remember I was at my workplace, when the incident occurred. It was around evening when the news of the attack came in.

Images of the attack beamed on TV sent me into a shock. For a while, I did not know how to react. It took me a while to regain my composure. I hope this does not happen again on Indian soil.

Anand C J, Cinematographer and editor It was through a tweet that I first got to know about the attacks. We doubted its credibility, but soon the attack was confirmed via a media report. It was just another day for me at the studio, with loads of editing work. Around late evening, I got to know of the dastardly attacks at the hotels in Mumbai. I remember I was too shocked to even react, numb more like it - that the terrorists could enter a hotel and attack human beings at will.

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