At 9.40 pm, at Colaba’s Café Leopold, a year to the second when two gunmen stormed in and opened fire, people abandoned conversations and beer mugs and stood up.
Heads bowed, the revellers who were swaying to rock music until a minute ago stood still and silent, the candles lit on the sidewalk shimmering in the breeze.
The silence held in the packed café until German violinist Friedrich Kleinknecht finished his piece, Be in Peace. A resident of Kemp’s Corner, who worked with composer Zubin Mehta for eight years, Kleinknecht had approached the café requesting that he be allowed to play a tribute.
“We are not afraid to come here. Our coming here shows that we respect the people who sacrificed their lives for security,” said Sahil Mehta, an Andheri resident who visited Leopold earlier in the day.
There were similar scenes across the city. At 9.40 pm, a large crowd had gathered at the Gateway of India; there were candles and slogans outside the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, which burned for 60 hours.
“I feel as safe as I would anywhere in the world at any given moment. We timed our Mumbai sojourn to coincide with this day,” said Iain Ault (30), a tourist from Scotland, outside the Taj.
Thursday was a day for tributes and homage, when Mumbai mourned for the victims and martyrs of the attack that violated Mumbai like never before.
At 9.45 pm, the moment when two gunmen stormed into Nariman House a year ago, a memorial service was organised by members of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Frieda Holtzberg and her husband Rabbi Nachman, who lost their son and daughter-in-law, flew in from the US to attend the service.
Over 170 candles were lit through the evening.
At 10.20 pm, the instant in 2008 when Cama Hospital security guards Baban Ugre and Bhaudev Narkar were shot dead, 50 doctors and nurses gathered with their families to light candles and say a prayer. A message board said: “The rivers of blood and showers of bullets have stopped, but the wounds remain as fresh as they were.”
Earlier on in the day, at 7.50 am, the Mumbai police had a three-km parade, starting from the Trident and ending at Girgaum Chowpatty where Assistant Police Inspector Tukaram Omble was killed.
It was not merely a tribute but an exercise to boost the confidence of Mumbaiites in the police force.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, his deputy Chhagan Bhujbal and Mayor Shubha Raul all attended the event.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram also came to Mumbai, visiting Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, which saw the maximum number of deaths when Kasab and his partner Abu Ismail opened fire.
Visitors streamed to all attack sites. Outside the Trident, where a wreath of white flowers adorned a black plaque, hundreds of candles flickered through the day.
“I understand the pain of those whose beloved died because of these attacks,” said widow Bhanuben Parmar who had come to offer her shraddhanjali.