Languages
Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Mumbai attacks: One year on



Karambir Kang, general manager of the Taj hotel in Mumbai (Bombay), lost his wife and two children during last November's attacks. The family were living in the hotel when the attacks took place. The BBC's Soutik Biswas spoke to Mr Kang about life after the tragedy.

Karambir Singh Kang, general manager of Mumbai"s Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel
Mr Kang has worked with Taj hotels for the past 19 years

I took time to think and introspect. I can never really come to terms with what has happened. I can never really move on.

I can only try.

After the tragedy, I took a break from work for a little over a month. I met my family, my friends. My parents live in Chandigarh, and I have a sister who lives in Bahrain. It was a very emotional time.

The first couple of months after I returned to work were very tough. It was tougher than I thought.

I got the support of my family, friends, hotel staff and all that helped. I have spent all of 19 years of my working life here; this is my extended family.

A lot of strangers have called me in the past year, got in touch with me, by email, sent letters. They have given me strength, and I have sought strength from everybody.

'Source of strength'

Friends have been a source of strength. A lot of friends with whom I haven't been in touch for years have returned to my life and given me support.

Personally, it was important for me to finish rebuilding the hotel. The re-launch of Taj was the biggest challenge.

And we did reopen the hotel 21 days after the incident. All of our staff returned to work and made it possible. The whole world took notice. The aura of the hotel has gone up to a different level post-26/11.

You talk about running away from the place where the tragedy happened, about running away from grief. What do you run away from? You have to conquer your mind. I had to come back to the hotel to do it.

And no, self pity was something that never crossed my mind though.

There is destiny and there is free will. And we have to deal with it.

Taj Hotel after last year's attack
Over 30 people died during the attack on Taj
After work, I spend time with my friends, I listen to my favourite music - old rock music and blues - watch movies, and go on a drive at weekends.

I have photographs of my family taken hours before the death. My wife had called the photographer to take some pictures of the children, an hour before the attacks. After the hotel reopened, the photographer came and gave me the pictures.

I had met my family around 8pm that evening. They were returning from somewhere, and we met in the corridor briefly.

I did not move into the flat that we were refurbishing. I moved to a different apartment.

Sometimes, God tests you in various ways. You have to stand up and face them. I take things as they come now.

Maybe, I was ambitious earlier, there was lots more to life. No longer.

There is no reason for me to be alive - there were grenades being thrown, there was gunfire. But I survived.

So you find your calling and purpose and make the best of the life that you have.




Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific