1. Moshe Holtzberg
The 26/11 attack, a wound from which Mumbai has recovered, but never free. Every time someone mentions 26/11, all we can feel chills run down our spines. Not because we are afraid, but because we lost people, our fellow citizens who were innocents and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The blood bath of 26/11 will never be forgotten. A huge number of people died, and some fought with death and prevailed. Here, we will tell you stories of ordinary people who survived the attacks of 26/11:
This Israeli boy who was just two years old when he lost his parents in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. During the Mumbai attack, Moshe, was standing and crying between his dead parents’ bodies, was saved in a daring move by his brave nanny, Sandra Samuels, who was hiding in a room downstairs when the attack happened. He now lives in the Israeli city of Afula with his maternal grandparents and says that he wants to come back to India and take up his father’s position as rabbi of the Chabad House.
2. Amrita Raichand
It was her 32nd birthday when she came to Taj along with her family to celebrate, leaving her one-year-old child behind at home with a nanny. Amrita Raichand, a known celebrity, was stuck in the Taj during the attack. The actress-tuned-chef said, “For the next four- five years, I couldn’t celebrate my birthday. But now, I’ve taken it in my stride and I go to the Taj every year for my birthday.”
3. Bob Nicholls
Bob Nicholls, a South African security consultant and his team of five, who were in Mumbai to work on security arrangements for the upcoming Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament, were eating dinner with colleagues at Souk restaurant when the attacks occurred. He went ahead to add, “My concern was whether they had plans to blow the whole building up. If the fire came to our part of the building, we wouldn’t be able to get out. We have a fighting chance against terrorists but fire is a whole different ballgame.” Nicholls took a more pragmatic approach and arranged for counseling sessions as soon as he and his team returned home to Johannesburg.
4. Dilip Mehta
Managing Director of Pegasus Shipping, Dilip Mehta was having dinner that night and got stuck in Taj. It took him a while to recover from the trauma of the attack. “I was traumatized for almost six months. I used to get up at night at 3 a.m., and just hold onto my bed. I’d get nightmares and hallucinations. I wasn’t myself,” he said. But now, things have changed and time has healed him. He is now focused on giving more as he feels he has gotten another chance at life.
Devika was shot in the leg by Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist who was captured alive after the attacks. Devika testified in the court against Kasab, who was arrested and subsequently executed in November 2012. According to her, she was barely 1o years old when bullet pierced her at CST Station.
She is now studying and her aim is to serve the country as an IAS officer.
6. Arun Jhadav
Arun Jadhav, the only survivor of an ambush that killed six policemen, shares his story. Lying under a pile of corpses in the back of the police van that was hijacked by Ajmal Kasab and Ismail Khan, Arun Jadhav was able to radio the police control room and give them the terrorists’ whereabouts. His brave actions despite being injured himself, which led to the capture of Ajmal Kasab, are truly praiseworthy.
7. Rahim Ansari
Rahim Ansari lost six of his family members in the barbaric attack. He went into depression for a long time after the incident. He also added that his family had no way to escape before they were killed. He is happy that perpetrators were punished, but he will only find peace when the Indian Government takes the mastermind, Hafeez Saeed, into custody and punish him for his heinous act.
8. Mohammed Taufeeq
Another survivor, Mohd Taufeeq, who sells tea at the CST Station said that the incident still disturbs him. He saved not just his own life but helped many other people escape too.
He seeks for peace, he says. However, he also admits that only when Hafiz Saeed, who is the mastermind of the attack, gets arrested and punished, will he get his peace of mind back.
9. Anisha Chaudhary
Anisha Chaudhary was in Leopold cafe when the terrorists attacked. For her, life has completely changed ever since. There has not been a single day she hasn’t recalled the fateful event. She had seen people dying and begging for help, and these incidents have been seared into her brain. She says that she has tried to see life in more positive ways. She helps others as much as she can but she is still not able to make peace with the incident.
10. Amit Peshave
Amit Peshave, who was the then-restaurant manager of Taj Mahal Hotel, not just saved his life but also rescued 30 people. He dodged bullets and hand grenades. He is still affected by those incidents and says he can hear screams and firing even now if he is reminded of the incident.
The horrors of 26/11 have deeply traumatised many survivors, but we appreciate them for sharing their stories anyway. Tell us in the comments below if reading about them has ignited a patriotic fire within you or led you to be more grateful about the life you have!
Watch State of Siege: 26/11, now streaming only on Zee5.