When brave individuals looked death in the eye to help others: A 26/11 survivor recounts the attacks

"I won’t look back on that day as just a terrorist attack, but a day when many brave individuals looked death in the eye to help others.”

One wonders how an anybody who survived the deadly terror attacks in Mumbai on 26 November, 2008 could have such an optimistic perspective about that fateful day.

Seven years later, 26/11 remain fresh in memory of Mumbaikars, especially the ones who were caught in the various spots attacked by the terrorists. The sight of blood at the CST station, the black-clad NSG commandos, the black smoke rising out of the iconic Taj Mahal hotel — not a sight that is easily forgotten.

 When brave individuals looked death in the eye to help others: A 26/11 survivor recounts the attacks

The Taj Mahal hotel during the 26/11 siege. IBNLive

Every year, as people pay tribute to the victims and honour the martyrs, the survivors go on with their life. This year, one of the people who narrowly escaped death on that day, has spoken about his terrifying experiences on the 'Humans of Bombay'.

A Facebook community similar to Brandon Stanton's famous 'Humans of New York', the page featured the story of one of the chefs at the Taj Mahal hotel, one of the worst hit spots.  The hotel was under siege for three days, and several areas were gutted due to fire and explosions, while several guests and employees were killed even though hundreds of hostages were rescued.

Recounting the night, when what was believed to be a gang war escalated into a full blown hostage crisis, the chef talks about how the terrorists fired indiscriminately even as people were running away. But he also highlights the bravery of the Taj employees who did not run away but chose to stay back and help the guests.

"We were 7 chefs in total in the kitchen that night, not one of whom left the Taj despite knowing all exit points... As soon as we had heard about the shootout, we prepared sandwiches for our surviving guests which we then handed out. After this, we then entered the corridor to escort our guests out of the hotel through the back entrance. We had successfully helped a few guests when I saw the left profile of a terrorist in a red cap, who began shooting," he writes.

He speaks about how in a manner of minutes several people were killed, including his colleagues, and how he was saved thanks to a refrigerator next to which he was standing. The refrigerator was was riddled with bullet holes, but fortunately, he survived.

"All of a sudden, everything went quiet and that silence was the worst. I tried looking around for survivors, but it was just me. I walked out of the kitchen and saw all of my colleagues dead on the floor - the whole Taj was deserted," the post reads.

Read the full post here:

“I was a chef in the Taj banquet kitchen when the gunshots started that night. Initially the news was that it was an...

Posted by Humans of Bombay on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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Updated Date: Nov 26, 2015 14:07:06 IST