Rupa & Co
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A man suddenly toppled to his side right in front of me. A big-boned and well-muscled guy came running and halted beside the shivering body. He was wearing a blue cap on his head and has a grey backpack hanging from his left shoulder. He could easily have been mistaken for a tourist had he not been holding a rifle in his right hand. He squeezed the trigger with his index finger. Bullets fired with sharp cracks into the body of the man on the floor, turning his pristine white shirt red. I could not believe I was not hallucinating.
Working in a hotel prepares you for them things, but not this.
26 November 2008. The world watches in horror as Mumbai is ripped apart by coordinated terrorist attacks. Among the locations targeted is the century old iconic Taj Mahal palace and Hotel in Colaba. By the time the siege ends, the hotel has suffered severe damage--and dozens have lost their lives.
In 24 Hours, we encounter for the first time a full, eyewitness account of the shocking tragedy--from Ankur Chawla, an operations management trainee with the hotel in 2008. A stark and compelling narrative, this is the story of a man who battled immense fear and peril to emerge a survivor.
About the Author
ANKUR CHAWLA went to school in Delhi and then graduated from the Institute of Hotel Management, Shimla. He was selected as an operations management trainee with the Taj Group of Hotels. He has worked at different Taj properties, including the Taj Mahal Palace and Hotel in Mumbai, for almost five years. Ankur has, over the years, also played musical instruments such as the table and drums, participated in theatre, acted in documentaries and engaged in several public-speaking and marketing engagements. He currently holds a managerial position in the food and beverage department at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi.