Life has never been the same again. You realise that nothing matters — job, money, banking or anything else.
I checked into the Trident Mumbai on 26/11 to attend a board meeting. I was to have dinner at the hotel’s Kandahar restaurant with two of my colleagues. I had forgotten some office papers and went back to my room, which was on the 20th floor. As soon as I came down and got out of the lift, I sensed something abnormal about the place. It was dark. Just as I started walking towards the restaurant, I was shot at and luckily for me the bullets hit my legs and lower abdomen.
For the first few minutes, I could not understand what was happening. My immediate thoughts were to call my colleagues; they were supposed to wait for me for dinner. Some hotel attendants told me about the terrorist attack.
My immediate thoughts were to call my colleagues. I asked them to leave the hotel immediately through the rear gate. I thought about my family. I somehow managed call. I told them about the attack and asked them to leave the hotel immediately through the rear gate.
I thought about my family. It is a funny feeling and it dawns on you that nothing matters and all you can think of is your near and dear ones. I was extremely concerned about my colleagues who were stuck on another floor of the hotel.
I am a shaky traveller today. There is fear in my mind whenever I travel out of Delhi and I do that at least once a month. Just after the incident, a medical team that was attending on me had advised me not to visit Mumbai for at least four months. I visited Mumbai after February and that was more to get out of the paranoia. I decided to stay in the same hotel again to fight my own fear.
Sleep is something, which comes with great difficulty now when I am in a hotel. I keep my lights on even when I am sleeping in a hotel. I am so paranoid now that I even check the wardrobes immediately after I check in.
(As told to Mahua Venkatesh)