Free Press Journal

“I have stopped celebrating my birthdays in Mumbai”: 26/11 Mumbai attack survivor



Raj Trivedi, a college student in 2008, was celebrating his 20th birthday with his friends. But lesser did he know that this birthday was not just a transition from a teenager to an adult but something more than that. Something that will leave him with scars that will stay with him forever and ever. Read on to know Raj’s memories attached to the deadliest 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

It was my 20th birthday. We celebrated the occasion at the Leopold Cafe and left the place at 8:30 pm and the attack at the cafe happened at 9:30 pm. We were walking towards the Nariman Point for our extended celebration as we had plans to celebrate throughout the night. We were halted by a bunch of policemen asking us to leave we didn’t understand what was happening. We had a couple of friends who used to stay nearby so we told them to get a taxi and we thought of going to CSMT. But then we were told that the way to CSMT has been blocked as an attack had happened at the railway station as well. We kept walking till we reached the Gateway of India where we got to know that the Taj Hotel is under attack. We actually saw the right wing of the Taj being burned and the flames coming out. I saw people running helter-skelter, people getting shot and it was very bad.

We were struck at the place for three days. Trains were not functioning. Phones were not working and there was no way we could communicate to people. We did not have food for three days. The locals helped us out to stay and provided us tea and water. The area was completely cordoned off and though we had money it was of no use. All my friends started calling me ‘Narkundi’. One of my friends who reached late was at CSMT, he lost his hearing because of the grenade that was thrown by the terrorists. Now he has to depend on his hearing aid the entire life.

On November 27 someone told us that the trains have started but we didn’t have the guts to travel. On Nov 28th everything was calm and we left to our place. When I took the train from Churchgate to Bhyander the entire time I was just thinking ‘Why did I take the decision of celebrating my birthday?’ When I reached home I saw my mother in tears. The first thing she did was she slapped me.

Since that day I had never celebrated my birthday in Mumbai. The fear has gone inside. I fear that they will come back to carry an anniversary attack. I am still shocked that they did so much to our city and we are helpless. It had a deep impact on my mind that it will not come out until I am alive.

The incident has such an impact on me that I lost all my emotions and trust factor. I broke up with my girlfriend whom I was in a relationship for three years. Since then I am single. The last time I cried was a couple of months before 26/11 attacks when my friend died. Since 26/11 till today I have never cried. Because I thought if I broke down now I will remain broke forever. The incident has made me emotionless. Even if someone dies I feel it was written in his/her fate. I feel this should not be the case at this age. I was never an introvert I have stopped getting into people easily. Even if someone betrays me I don’t retaliate back. That has made me a rock kind of person. The only advantage is now people cannot fool me. I have tried changing but it is not happening.