Mihir Ganatra firmly held his beer mug and tapped his foot in resilience to a live band playing at the Leopold Café in Colaba on Friday night.
Thirteen years ago the 29-year-old event manager had his first drink at the restrobar. On Friday, he was back at the café to express solidarity and pay homage to memory of 11 people who died when two terrorists sprayed the café with bullets on November 26, 2008.
“The nostalgia is obvious,” Ganatra said. His latest post on Facebook read, “Mr Terrorist, if you visit Leopold Café today, the beer bong will hit you harder.”
Around 7:30 pm the café staff barely had any space to move between the tables as young people of different nationalities thronged the venue that has become an iconic post of the city’s bloodiest terror strike.
The graffiti boards placed at the entrance had very little white space left. Visitors as well as passersby took some time off to scribble a few lines for those who failed to go back to their families on the same day two years ago. “I feel lucky to be here on such a historic day,” said Evan Betti, an Argentinean tourist who was passing by the café and knew little about the terror attacks. Betti and other visitors also lit candles at the entrance.
Several others stood outside the café straining to hear the live bands that played tributes to those who died and to the city that stood resilient after the attacks.
“I have seen Friday night crowds. But this is something else,” said a steward.
Visitors at the restaurant stood up and observed a minute’s silence for the victims earlier in the evening.