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December 20, 2012

14 Hours - A Book Review.

Title : 14 Hours - An insider's account of the Taj Attack.
Author - Ankur Chawla
Publisher - Rupa Publications India
Genre - Personal Experience
ISBN - 9788129120656
Pages - 162
Rating - 4/5

About the Author [Source : Internet]

Ankur Chawla went to school in Delhi and then graduated from the Institute of Hotel Management, Shimla. He was selected as an operations management trainee with the Taj Group of Hotels. He has worked at different Taj properties, including the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, for almost five years. Ankur has, over the years, also played musical instruments such as the tabla and drums, participated in theatre, acted in documentaries and undertaken several public-speaking and marketing engagements. He currently holds a managerial position in the food and beverage department at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi.


A stark and compelling narrative , this is the story of a man who battled immense fear and peril to emerge a survivor.

Ankur Chawla says ' Working in a hotel prepares you for many things, but not this. I could hardly agree more with him. 26 November 2008. Mumbai was terrorized to its core and  Ankur Chawla has given us the insider's account of those dreadful 14 hours in there. I did not want to judge this book like any other books that I read, simply because of the sheer soul Ankur has tried to put in. If he is anything, its brave for me. If I would have been in his place, I wouldn't have had the courage to re-live the trauma even after several years. I applaud him for the genuine effort. 

This book is a tribute to those who died in the attack and a salutation to the spirit of those who survived.

At times, when I closed my eyes, I could see the shady figures dancing around with rifles and the grey bagpack.

The story has been heard numerous times, in snippets, on various news channels and read on laudable newspapers, but what they could not provide was the first-hand account and the racing heartbeats of the people fighting their fates against this unfortunate mishappening inside the Taj.

About being totally honest, I do think the book had some glitches and grammatical errors, but of course writing a book, specially the one with these kinds of feelings attached can be really hard. Perhaps, maybe Ankur could have hired somebody to do a better job at it. Still, this does not affect my rating of the book and neither does the sentiment lose any of its original value.

It was a tragedy that we may never even wish upon our foes. I hope Ankur regains his 'before-incident' chirpy self, although we all know that is easier said than done. Mumbai had been terrorized and so was the rest of the country.

I can only wish peace.

My rating for this brave narrative would be 4/5.

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