The book 14 Hours by Ankur Chawla is an insider’s account of the attack at the Taj Palace, Mumbai on 26th November 2008. He used to work there and was one of the lucky ones to
At the beginning of the book, he mentions about his being from Delhi, studying in Institute of Hotel Management, Shimla and joining Taj Mahal Palace and Towers, Mumbai in July 2008. He also talks about his family and his friends.
On 26th November 2008, during the fourth month of training, he was in the Harbour Bar talking to the guests, when he heard a gunshot. When he reached the doors in order to lock them, he saw a man dying after being shot. He says, “Working in a hotel prepares you for many things but not this”. He describes the ordeal of moving from one room to another and at the same time ensuring that the guests were safe. The staff also tried to make the guests comfortable by giving them water, sandwiches and all that they could manage. They would also talk to them to calm them down. He has mentioned how they would keep in touch with each other, their families and the outside world.
Once I started the book, I just could not keep it down. I had read ‘Mumbai Attacked’ about three years ago but it was a third person’s account and reading this in first person, I could feel chills run down my spine. He has described everything in detail and also the time lines. Believe me, when I say this, I could not sleep after I finished the book because the images were haunting me. It is a tribute to the survivors, the victims and the heroes of the Mumbai incident. He has put all his emotions, worries, courage and wisdom in words. It is an act of courage to recollect and write such a book.
Though the incident occurred in 2008, and five years down the line, whenever I check into a hotel, the first thing I look for is the emergency exit and also where would I hide if anything happened. Am I being paranoid?
Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Rupa Publications