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The Unsung Heroes

November 29, 2008
O utside the Air India building in Mumbai, which is close to the embattled Trident and Oberoi Hotels, a group of young men moved with enviable efficiency. Forming human cordons where necessary, requesting -- bullying the gathered crowd of curious onlookers and media personnel -- and making path so that rescued hostages could reach the transport awaiting to take them to a safe destination. They even took charge of the cops!

The process was precision-driven.

The hostages would wait in the recesses of the Air-India building until their transport arrived. Some of the hostages left in cars; some used the bus service provided by the Oberoi Group.

Then, one of the young men would call out for the driver and ensure the cops created path for the cars to drive towards the exit of the Air India building. The rescued hostages would be rushed into the car, his bags packed into the boot, a tap on the roof of the car and the vehicle would zoom out. All of which would barely take a few seconds.

Then, it was the turn of the next car.

The buses were more tricky. Leading the rescued hostages by hand, or with an arm around the shoulders, they would quickly guide them into the bus, using their height and build to protect them from the pressing onlookers.

Bus drivers were repeatedly reminded to keep the shades down and bus door closed.

One of the men had a yellow pad, which seemed to hold a list. As each rescued hostage left the battle-weary premises, a name would reduce on the list. "Okay, the South Africans have gone," said one. The other ticked off the names from the list.

All three of them - one wearing a black shirt, one pink and one blue - as you will see in the video, refused to be identified. They only said they were from the Oberoi Group, and that their only concern was to "facilitate, as comfortably as possible, the departure of the guests."

Video: Savera R Someshwar

Also read: Mumbai bleeds

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