It’s a Metaphor

Disclaimer: The following is a fictitious narrative of events as they may have occurred on the fateful night of the 26th of November, 2008. While the inspiration from the story comes from Mr. Karambir Singh Kang, General Manager of the Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai, any other resemblance is purely coincidental and in no way, means to offend.

He was the lone survivor in the family. In the family that had once had four perfectly happy members, who had been so busy bustling about the ordinary business of their daily lives that they never got even a split second to fathom how abruptly they might be rooted out of them. Rooted out of their lives, out of their existence, out of the very face of the earth. It was true that only three of them had died that night and that he had been the lone survivor. But it was also true that he had no life left in him. He was alive, yet; dead.

Made by Swati Singh

He lay on his bed tonight, still and pale as the wrinkled cream that floats on milk, aimlessly. His gaze fixed on the calendar on the wall. 26th November, 2016, the date read. The same, dreadful night, eight years ago. His mind instantly underwent a whirlwind of flashbacks.

Eight years ago, on this very night, he had been sitting calmly in his office in the Taj Palace Hotel, going through the reservations for the next few days and sipping his tea. As he got up to pick up a file from a shelf behind his desk, his eyes chanced upon the plaque on the beige wallpaper that said, “Kabeer Damle, General Manager”; then on the photograph beneath it. His family- his wife and his two sons. He smiled. It was a perfect life; an honourable one.

Suddenly, there was a jolt. A loud thud. His cup of tea rattled to the side of the desk, crashed and spilled on the carpet below. He looked out of the window- there were flames. Flames that engulfed the other side of the building. With his heart pounding like a burning hammer against his chest, he rushed out of the office. People were screaming crying running. Everyone was hysterical. He caught the words, “bomb”, “terrorists” and “run” from out of the wild racket of words that were flung into the air. As a child, he had always asked his mother to define the word, ‘pandemonium’ to him. However, hard as she tried, she couldn’t get her boy to understand it satisfactorily. Tonight, he didn’t need a definition. This was it. This was what you called pandemonium.

Damle hurried downstairs to the fire exit closest to the lobby. Just then he heard bullets pattering down like rain and shattering the glass. Another explosion. He ran to the other end of the lobby, helping everybody through clandestine exits. The building had been bombed. There was nothing but chaos. The floor was strewn with corpses and blood. His heart, battering against his ribcage, like a caged animal that wished to escape, urged him to run to the upper floors and get his trapped family out. But his badge that pressed like a firmly locked muzzle against the already enslaved heart, chided, “General Manager, help the guests and the staff first.”

With a battle with his conscience that seemed harder than the one that was being fought outside, he made his way from here to there, directing people to go out. The stench of blood and charred flesh hung strong in the air. Plumes of black smoke bellowed. Feet crunched on broken glass. The sound of bullets deafened dying ears.

What followed has forever been a blur in his memory. As he reached the second floor, helping out a family of two broken limbs and half-burned bodies, an officer running from the third floor shouted, “Everything above the second floor is out of bounds, it’s all gone. No survivors left. It’s all over.”

Numbed to the core, Damle dialled his wife’s number, their room, and the other emergency number. They kept ringing. As he escorted everyone else out to safety, something inside him snapped like a twig; died. That was the last of what he remembered from that night. After that came only the haze and the gloom, the cremation; and tonight.He had died with them that night.

He lay on his bed tonight, circling his wedding ring still on his finger, caressing his kids’ old favourite toys. He wished he hadn’t been the lone survivor as he lay there
alive; yet, dead.

Fiza Khan

Fiza Khan

It's a Metaphor


Fiza Khan: a poetess, a musician, a debater, a MUNner, an actress, a national level vocabulary champion, a school topper, and a beautiful human being. None of the following things can be detected if you happen to meet her in person. She is a rebel- a quirky tumblr kid.
Fiza, like every other human is a complex being, but what makes her unique is the way in which she embraces her complexity. Her romance with literature is very evident: plays and poems that drive the adolescents away, are the ones that Fiza adores. She's the person who searches the dusty dark corners of the library. You name it, she's read every other book.
Before engaging in a conversation with her you know that you might end up questioning your existence, because the casual way she inserts deadly metaphors is in fact, quite deadly!

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