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26/11 hero gets memento after meeting Obama

By A Ganesh Nadar
November 06, 2010 17:54 IST
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26/11 hero tells's A Ganesh Nadar about his encounter with President Obama.

Vishnu Zende, the announcer at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji railway terminus, saved hundreds of lives on the night of 26/11 by repeatedly asking passengers to leave the station by its back entrance even as terrorists killed other passengers indiscriminately elsewhere on the CST premises.

Zende received the invitation to meet Obama two days ago. He told, "I reached the Taj at 11.30 am, the President came at 2.30 pm."

The meeting was on the first floor terrace. He sat in the fourth row.

After President Obama gave a 20 minute speech, "he shook hands with everyone. I also shook hands with him, but did not get a chance to speak to him. It was too crowded."

Zende has his invitation with him. "I took President Obama's autograph on it."

The man who displayed exemplary presence of mind on that horrific night two years ago was clearly happy he had the presence of mind on Saturday to get a memento of his meeting with President Obama.

He also shot a photograph of Obama on his mobile phone. His only regret is "I could not take his photo with me."

Photograph: Dominic Xavier/

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