An op-ed piece by Canadian novelist and playwright Anosh Irani appears online in The New York Times today. Irani, who was born in Mumbai, writes about the seige of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel during the Mumbai attacks last week.
As I watched the Taj Mahal hotel breathe fire, I remembered my grandfather, Burjor. For more than 30 years, he was the florist at the hotel, ordering roses flown in daily from New Delhi.
I essentially grew up in the hotel. And I would have been there on Wednesday night, browsing in its bookshop, and at the Leopold Café nearby, if it were not for the last-minute distraction of a soccer match in my neighborhood.
It is one of the quietest and most picturesque locations in Mumbai. It can feel like it’s a world away from the city. Except when it’s not, like when the attacks started.
Irani was named as one of Q&Q‘s “writers to watch” in 2002. In 2007, he was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Drama for The Bombay Plays, and his second novel, The Song of Kahunsha, was a Canada Reads selection.