Mumbaites in Canada recall ties to Taj Mahal Hotel

By Gurmukh Singh,IANS,

Toronto : Indian Canadians from Mumbai have slept very little after hearing about the tragic toll terrorists took on India’s commercial capital, with many of them recalling nostalgically their ties to the landmark Taj Mahal Hotel.

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Montreal-based businessman Baljit Chadha, who hails from Mumbai, said: “The unfolding tragedy in Mumbai is bothering me today. It is a tragic and sad day not only for India but also for the whole world.”

But India was bounce back, he said. “The strength of India’s democracy and the goodwill of its people will help us overcome this barbaric event,” the dry fruit businessman said.

Chadha said when he saw the Taj Mahal Hotel burning, it brought back his childhood memories of this place.

“As children, we used to go to behind the Taj Mahal Hotel to eat kebab prepared by an old man called Bade Mian. Those memories made me very sad today,” Chadha told IANS.

He said he was in Mumbai just two weeks ago and had lunch with his daughter behind the hotel. “The Taj Mahal Hotel and the Oberoi are my favourite places, and I used to stay there often.”

Vancouver -based physician Pargat Bhurjia, whose extended family lives in central Mumbai, said, “To see the Taj Mahal Hotel being blasted by terrorists disturbed me a lot because I have fond memories of these places.

“My engagement took place at the Taj and I have pictures of that day years ago.”
He said, “Come what may, I am going to Mumbai December 12. I am not going to be terrorized by any bullets. India will bounce back.”

Financial expert Narain Bhatia of Mississauga said, “All my relatives and friends in Mumbai are safe, but terrified. My wife is also a little scared of going there, but I will definitely leave for Mumbai December 5.”

Atul Tolia of Toronto told IANS: “My relatives from California were staying at the Taj hotel when terrorists struck. But they had gone out for dinner. When they got back to the hotel, they found it under terror attack.”

A member of the VIP Club at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Tolia said, “Every time I go there I live at the Taj. My association with the Taj goes a long time back. Whatever has happened must be condemned in the strongest words.”

The Canada India Foundation (CIF) also condemned the terror attack on India’s commercial capital.

In a statement, CIF chairman Surjit Babra said: “Canada India Foundation strongly condemns the terrorists attacks in Mumbai. These deliberate acts of terrorism must not succeed in dividing India or hindering its ascent as a global economic superpower which values freedom, democracy and human rights.”

The CIF chief said they stand firmly with individuals and families who have lost their loved ones, with those who have suffered injuries and with those still caught in the terrible hostage situation, including Canadians.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this most difficult time,” he said.