The Tree of Life, a painting that miraculously remained unharmed when the dome of the Taj caught fire on November 26, has become a fitting memorial for those slain in the terror attacks. A plaque inscribed with the names of the 31 dead (residential guests, staff and security members) stood next to the painting, surrounded by Christmas decorations.
Several guests took photographs while others spent a solemn minute reading the tribute titled ‘They live on forever…’ The painting explained that the tree of life “is related to immortality and the essential dualism of the worlds and hence is a perfect symbol of our salutation...”
A note at the bottom of the memorial said, “This is not a permanent memorial and will be moved to its final resting place in due course.”
Among the names of the 31 dead was that of Rajiv Saraswat, a resident of Navi Mumbai. His neighbour Shailesh Gupta said: “We heard that he saved many lives before he was killed. We feel sad to see his name here.”
Raymond Bickson, MD and CEO, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, said before the reopening, “Thirty-one people died during the attack on our hotel. We felt it was fitting and proper for there to be a symbol of permanent remembrance for all of those who fell within the building.”