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'We were about to get the check when we heard the first shot'

December 26, 2008

At what point did you go to Leopold Cafe?

I told John that the markets at the back were really awesome. We ate some street food, then came back to change to dress down to walk around the market. I wore a tank top and skirt. And John had a t-shirt and pair of khaki pants. When we were walking back to the hotel we passed Leopold. John always reads The New York Times travel section and he said: "Oh this is the cafe I have read about. We have to go in there."

It was around 9.30 pm when we walked into Leopold and it was really packed. There are two large doorways facing the street and the middle part is the glass. We sat close to the left doors. I remember observing the restaurant and saying that everybody there was a tourist. I remember a father and son next to us. I ended up ordering watermelon juice and he had strawberry juice.

We were about to get the check when we heard the first shot.

Had you ever heard a gunshot before? What did it sound like?

No, no never. It just sounded like "POW" -- really short and quick. We looked to the back of the room. And three seconds after, that the gunshots started -- "boom, boom, boom."

Did you see the terrorists?

I never saw them. We did run straight through the left doors and I left my sandals and my bag... I didn't even think about my bag. We thought there was a bomb that was going to explode.

Did you run immediately?

When the shots were first heard, there was confusion and John just grabbed me, he threw me on the floor. My hands were cut, and there was blood. I don't know how. The shots kept going on. Then we had the instinct to run out and John pushed me down again and this time he pushed me on the sidewalk in front of the cafe.

As we were running towards the Taj, everybody was running -- the street venders. I remember three people running in front of me, John was behind me.

Image: The Taj Mahal Tower, right, where Dara and John stayed and the Taj Mahal Palace, which the terrorists stormed on November 26. Photograph: Arko Datta/Reuters.

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