Ever since the 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, returning to the city brings a strange feeling. Even amidst the disappointment of being dropped from the one-day side and knowing that we are under the pump this season, the thought of that fateful night was very much with me. We are staying at the Trident in Nariman Point, which was one of the places attacked by the terrorists.
As our bus manoeuvered through the narrow gates of the hotel, conscious and subconscious minds were working overtime — imagining how the ghastly act would have unfolded. There is sadness and anger.
Next day, I was around the pool area where I came across a commemorative plaque. It was in the memory of the guests and hotel staff who lost their lives in the massacre. It is strange that a hotel where some of them would have come for a stopover or holiday became their final destination.
I have checked into the corner room on level 24.
Twist of fate
On the left side of my room is the vast expanse of the ocean, serene but and almost tranquilising. On the right is Mumbai's famous skyline with the bustling Marine Drive at its feet. One of the room service employees showed me a corner of the Marine Drive where he hid on 26/11 as he heard gunshots just metres away. He is one of the many who were saved by destiny.
In his case, he was on his way to the hotel for a night shift. He was supposed to be on the normal shift but swapped it with a friend as it was his girlfriend's birthday. He proudly told me that he is now married to that girl as he thought she was lucky for him.
What a night!
I am writing this column sitting on the balcony outside our dressing room area at the Wankhede. This is the same balcony where we achieved one of the highest points of my cricketing life - winning the 2011 ICC World Cup. That day the balcony was teeming with people — players, BCCI officials, players' families (I was a bachelor then and none of my other family members were here) were all here. I was numb and didn't know how to react till about an hour after the game ended. What a night that was!
In the game against Mumbai, I will be on the other side of the balcony and I am not a part of the India squad. Life runs at a brisk pace, doesn't it?
(Kaizen Media Solutions)
The writer is KKR skipper