26/11 Anniversary

We were not to know what lay ahead on 26 November 2008.

We never know what the day ahead will have in store for us anyway. We always hope to have a nice day and get things done, push the goals, and live life to the best.

But last year, this date’s night was horrendous. The terrorists had a master plan with five major targets in South Mumbai – two of them being important and landmark buildings of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel and the Oberoi (Trident) Hotel. These are not mere buildings. They are historic icons not only for Mumbai but for the entire nation. This was the reason why these were chosen as the targets. Amongst the people at the receiving end of the terrorists’ bullets, there were my professional colleagues. And if you remember, the entire staff of Taj and Oberoi faced the challenge of safeguarding the lives of their guests first, before theirs, and in doing so many brethren lost their lives. Chef Banja, Chef Borris and Chef Kaizad known to me are not with us anymore. My heart goes to their families and everyone else who died facing bullets.

We all love life. That is why I would like to say do not nurse any hatred for those who have done these dastardly acts. Instead, use your energies to pray – pray that better sense prevails. In such a troubled time, how I wish Mahatma Gandhi was amongst us to guide us. Leaders like him become more relevant in such situations. What are the lessons for us? That though such a situation may rise again, however much is the security and the preparation, the difference has to be in reaction and in response time. Let’s make our contribution, however small, instead of showing complacency and complaining.

Sanjeev Kapoor.