Remembering 26/11 | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Remembering 26/11

HT's senior editors on what they were doing when terror struck Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Nov 12, 2011 02:06 IST

Sumana Ramanan
Senior Editor, Mumbai
I reached my home in south Mumbai believing that the shooting was a result of gang warfare. I soon found out it wasn't. I hired the lone cab outside my colony for the night.
I first went to the intersection outside Metro cinema, where a senior photographer I know from a rival newspaper was standing among a knot of journalists, looking dazed. When he answered in monosyllables, I thought he was being pathologically competitive. I later found out that a bullet had just missed him. I headed to St George Hospital, where bodies arrived in the dozens from CST. Among them were labourers heading home to Bihar, a family going to the Konkan. Their relatives stood by paralysed by grief. A friend called to say she knew someone who was trapped in the Taj. I dialled his number. He said, ‘They're here. We're hiding. I hope they don't find us.'

Zara Murao
Senior Assistant Editor, Mumbai
We were almost done for the day on the Metro newsdesk when we first heard reports of gunfire at Leopold's. A gangland shooting in Colaba… it's been a long time, I thought. Then reports began trickling in of gunfire at the Taj and the Oberoi. I looked to the crime editor for some clue on what was going on. He looked as confused as we were. They can't be connected, I thought. That's absurd. Soon it was clear that they were connected. Then we heard that ATS chief Hemant Karkare had been shot dead at one of the terror sites. As I turned to the TV screens and watched the siege unfold, as we planned a revised edition and a special afternoon edition for the next day, I remember, for the first time in my eight years on the job, feeling frightened by the news we were putting on our pages.

Saji K Thomas
Design Editor, Mumbai
We were busy bringing out the edition when reporters started calling in, saying there had been a gangland shootout in Colaba. In a short while, it became clear that this was something much bigger. The newsroom was suddenly very tense. I did not even get the time to watch what was happening on TV. The editor and other senior staff had come back to the office and we were planning a completely new front page. The telephone lines were jammed. I finally got through to my wife around 2 am to tell her I was still at work. The ride home is normally filled with banter; that night there was only a deathly silence. No one felt like talking.

Santosh Harhare
Chief Photographer, Mumbai
At first, I assumed that the firing being reported across SoBo was a gangwar. What else could it be? En route to the Taj, I was told it was a terrorist attack. As I passed Leopold, I took pictures of bullet-riddled walls. There wasn't another person on the road. I reached the waterfront and saw a group of police officers rushing the same way. I started clicking as they walked towards the Taj. Suddenly, there was a flash and a boom as two grenades were hurled at them. We stood still, stunned, the reality of the situation slowly sinking in. For the next five minutes, I could not hear a thing. I saw two policemen shouting and waving at us to get back. I could hear people screaming and the rattle of gunfire. I would remain there for two days, and I remember how strange it felt to be taking pictures when so many lives were at stake.