Mumbai: A year has gone by since the devastating 26/11 terror attacks, but the city is still vulnerable and people far from secure, says well-known author and columnist Shobhaa De.
'The government has taken certain steps, but nearly a year later the city still remains extremely vulnerable. Mumbaikars are worried and far from secure,' De said.
The 60-hour terror siege in India's financial capital began on the night of Nov 26 and claimed 166 lives and injured more than 300. Over 26 locations were targeted, including the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, the Oberoi Trident and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
De is still reeling from the shock.
'It is not possible to ever emerge from such a trauma. This feeling of shock and sorrow has nothing to do with five-star hotels. Many innocent lives were lost in the terror attacks, whether at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Cama Hospital, Nariman House or Cafe Leopold. I mourn every single death.'
Her daughter was supposed to get married around that time, but the venue was shifted after the terror strike.
'We cancelled most of the functions as a mark of respect to the dead. My daughter's wedding was shifted to another venue immediately. All of us were highly disturbed and our state of mind was agitated,' she said.
'However, after consulting the family priests, we were advised to go ahead with the rituals as per our shastras. We had a subdued but highly meaningful vedic wedding.'
What exactly goes in your mind when you visit Taj and Oberoi now?
'I feel as if I am walking into my own home that has been attacked, especially when I visit the Taj, which I have always considered my 'home'. There are too many wonderful memories attached to Taj. I am very sentimental about those, which is why, no matter what, Taj will always remain a very special destination that can never be destroyed. I go back there with pride and pleasure these days. It is an important symbol of our nation's indomitable spirit,' she said.
De lost some close friends, whose families have yet to come to terms with the loss.
'We lost dear friends in the attacks. Their families can never ever come to terms with the loss... even for us, it is exceedingly hard to put their tragic deaths behind us,' she said.