There is always the aftermath to everything. The omnipresent later. The events that unfolded and the ones that also happened in their wake. When these seemingly terrifying events happen closer to home or rather at home, then things look different. Everything takes on a different appearance post the tragedy, so to say. "The Siege: The Attack on the Taj" by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark is about such a tragedy - about the attack on the Taj on the twenty sixth of November, 2008.
The attack made us realize how vulnerable we are and the fact that we cannot keep saying that we will fight back in spirit. "The Siege" is a direct and moving narrative of the attack and its aftermath. We can put it as simply as this, and yet we know it was not all this simple. At a deeper level and perhaps even on the surface, the events that unfurled and impacted so many lives, can be anything but simple.
"The Siege" takes the reader into the heart of the attack - the modus operandi and the people involved to the victims and the number of attacks that rang through the heart of the city on that fateful November evening. The book chronicles stories from every walk of life that came in touch with as much as a sliver of the incident in those days - from the hostages to the manager to the staff of the hotel to Leopold to a derelict building in South Bombay to the officials and their responses and how the police force stood through and did what they had to - the authors do not miss out on anything.
The research runs through deeply enough in the book and at a certain point, as a reader, you would have to keep the book down and take a breath. It is also emotional in most parts, but that is just because you know it all happened - it occurred. The three days are covered meticulously. The book bares it all and yet touches you at a broad level of humanity. Adrian and Cathy say it the way it is - without mincing any words; it is all there for the reader to take in, which made me turn the pages very swiftly. The writing takes you full throttle and doesn't let go till you have finished the book and there is a very high possibility of you coming back to it.
Vivek Tejuja currently works for Flipkart