From billionaire Gautam Adani to celebrity chef Amrita Raichand, the Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai has born witness to a number of near-death experiences of famous personalities as well. Here are some lesser-known personalities who had a narrow escape from death during the Mumbai Taj attack
In the evening of November 26, 2008, ten men in inflatable speedboats came ashore in Colaba, Mumbai. The group, each of whom carried a rucksack, looked unfamiliar to the local fishermen. However, no one could have imagined that the face of the city was to be changed forever, for the worse that night.
As Taj Hotel in Mumbai recently joined hands with Ireland’s “Global Greening” initiative to mark this year’s St. Patrick’s Day, we, as Indians couldn’t be more proud. At the same time, many may even have recalled that dreadful night because while the entire world may still be grappling with the pandemic, the marquee hotel too had a close shave with destruction over a decade ago. Apart from the 170-odd deaths that occurred, the infamous incident continues to take a toll on thousands of people. What is lesser-known is the fact that many famous personalities too had a narrow escape that day.
Gautam Adani (Carmichael mine owner)
Gautam Adani was having dinner with the Dubai Port CEO at Weather Craft restaurant on the night of November 26 when he saw men firing guns. Thankfully, he, along with the other guests was later moved to the basement by the hotel staff.
Though currently the 21st richest man in the world (as per Forbes), he had to spend that night in the basement of the Taj Hotel. He was later rescued by the security personnel the next morning through the back door. “I saw death at a distance of just 15 feet,” said Gautam Adani, owner of Carmichael Coal Mine, Australia, after he landed at Ahmedabad airport on November 27. Recalling that horrifying incident, he added that throughout the night, he was praying and even asked everybody else to have faith in god.
Mallika Sarabhai (Padma Bhushan Award Winner)
While Gautam Adani was on a business rendezvous, Mallika Sarabhai, a renowned Indian classical dancer and actress, on the other hand, had just finished her dance performance on the evening of November 26.
She later went out for dinner at the Indigo restaurant with two family friends. Upon hearing that there was some security problem at the Taj, the hotel where she was sojourning, she immediately rushed there just when the attack had already begun. It was due to her daughter that she got rescued on time and was shifted to Ritz Hotel while her baggage, passport and other essentials were still in her hotel room.
Ashish Chaudhary (Bollywood Actor)
Ashish Chaudhary Having done comedy movies like Dhamaal and Daddy Cool, Ashish Chaudhary apparently looks like a high-spirited and jolly person. However, his life is not one without scars. Though not a first-hand victim of the 9/11 attack, he lost his sister Monica and brother-in-law Ajit Chhabira that night.
Sharing a series of pictures with his sister, he took it to Instagram and wrote, “The way I leaned on you, looked at you, troubled you, played with you, chilled with you, posed with you, clung to you, partied with you, the way I was there for you and of course the way you were there for me. These pictures depict that and just how much I needed you. I miss you Monica. Just keep looking out for me the way you always have…”
Amrita Raichand (Celebrity Chef)
A celebrity chef and film actress, Amrita Raichand has had a near experience with death on 26/11 which also happened to be her birthday. She was with her entire family at a suite right above Wasabi, the Taj Mahal Palace, when the attack was being carried out on the ground floor. After a sleepless night of anxiety and worries, they were finally rescued by fire brigade officials at around 7.30 am on November 27.
“I saw my son, which I was just not hopeful about, and kept thinking had my family been wiped out, my son wouldn’t have any of us. But I guess God wanted us to live on. That was the most traumatic and also, the most dramatic night of my life,” she said.
Earlier known for its grandeur and architecture that would take you to the bygone era of maharajas and their regal lifestyle, today, the Taj Hotel also symbolises valour. From love, loss, longing to heroism, it has been a witness to it all and despite all that, it still stands tall, like a fortress of Mumbai, overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Last modified: March 25, 2021