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Outside the Trident: Some anxiety, some normalcy

Savera R Someshwar | November 28, 2008 16:42 IST

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Coverage: Terror strikes at Mumbai's heart
They're victims too. They may not have been on the other side of the terrorists's gun, but they have seen their place of work, their guests and their colleagues bear the brunt of the horrific terrorist attack on Mumbai  since Wednesday night.

As the rescue operations finally seemed to come to an end, they stood shoulder to shoulder to play their part.

Forming a human chain, in tandem with the Mumbai police, the staff of the Trident (formerly Oberoi) Hotel kept the media and curious onlookers at bay as the rescued hostages walked out of the hotel.

Some were picked up by family and/or friends, others by consulate members. Some used the bus organised by the hotel; others were picked up in private cars.

The entire operation seemed to be directed by Oberoi staffers; they called for the drivers, ensured guests and their baggage were safely accommodated in their choice of transport and driven away.

None of them would talk to the media or even give their name. "All we want is for our guests to be evacuated safely."

***

It's been a long, hard, mostly heartbreaking wait for the families of the hostages.

Outside the Trident hotel, relatives mill about, awaiting some kind of information about their loved ones, trapped by terrorists in Mumbai's plush five star hotels.

But there was no information coming; the worst was, no one standing outside knew whether their loved one inside was dead or alive.

***

It would have definitely eased the situation for worried family member if there was someone who could have provided some kind of information to them. Some of the waiting family members were old, some were in tears, and everyone we spoke to uniformly said the most difficult thing was not knowing anything. There were no hotel staffers or police to help or guide them and none of them had had any success with the helpline numbers that had been advertised.

***

Neither the police not the special forces could deter Mumbai's famed dabbawallas from going about their business. Today, they were busy delivering dabbas to the offices around the Air India building [Images].


***

When they use the done-to-death clich� about Mumbai's resilient spirit, this is what they mean.

~ Shankar, the owner of a tiny shoe stall outside the Air India building, was open for business and had made his first sale by noon.






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