I am usually contemptuous of attempts to link enormous tragedies to the writer’s minor personal misfortunes, but bear with me on this. On 27th November, I was stuck in a hotel room in the United States, unable to return to Mumbai because my flight was cancelled due to the terrorist attacks. I had missed breakfast because I was glued to the television, and because it was Thanksgiving day and no restaurant was open, I faced the prospect of staying hungry throughout the day. I was also feeling exceedingly lonely and was desperately missing my two-month old infant son.
My problems, needless to say, were trivial compared to what my city went through. The reason I am mentioning them is to explain why the incident of Karambir Kang, General Manager at the Taj, losing his wife and two daughters in a fire while he was saving hotel guests caused me to burst into tears.
It has been over a week since, and I am still seething. This is not the first terrorist strike on Mumbai or on India, and the way things are going, this will not be the last. But there was something different about this one. It is one thing to anonymously set off a few bombs and kill a couple of hundred people. It is quite another when 10 or 20 people, armed with guns and grenades, hold off the might of the Indian State. This is probably the greatest display of India’s military weakness since the defeat of 1962.