I was there too
I was holed up in the Trident hotel for 38 hours. I got out at 12 IST today. It was a very scary time.
I had ordered room service at around 10.15 pm on Wednesday. 15 minutes later I received a call from room service telling me that my order could not be delivered because of an emergency. I asked what sort of emergency and the woman responded she could not tell me. I thought that the kitchen caught on fire, so decided to go to the Oberoi, which is linked to the Trident, to get some food. The lifts were out and I called the operator but could not get an answer. I knew something was amiss but didn't think there had been a terrorist attack. I was on the 27th floor and decided to walk down. I got as far as the 14th floor when, to my horror, I saw a blood soaked landing. I quickly turned around and started to walk up the stairs back to my room. My heart was in my mouth as I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. To my relief, it was a fellow guest. I told him my horrific discovery. He looked at me disbelieving, so he had a look for himself and confirmed it was indeed blood. We both headed up the stairs and meet another guy coming down the stairs. He too looked at us with disbelief but a loud explosion soon changed his mind and we all headed up the stairs. Another explosion rocked the building as we reached the 23rd floor, where one of the guys had a room, so we all decided to head there. As we walked along the hallway a gentleman opened his door. We told him what happened and along with another man just passing by, went into his room.
There were five men in the room including me (an Australian). The other four men comprised a Canadian, an American, Frenchman and an Indian. We barricaded the door and then watched in horror as the story of the attack unfolded on live television. We could hear the explosions and rifle fire close by.
The TV reception was cut off in the early morning and from then on we relied on text messages and phone calls to know what was going on. My colleagues and people I know in India were sending me updates. The other guys were also getting updates. A lot of the news was conflicting throughout the time I was there. It does not help that the Trident and the Oberoi next door are colloquially known together as the Oberoi (the Trident was the original Oberoi, was renamed the Oberoi Towers, then the Trident Hilton and now the Trident).
As we were locked and barricaded in the room, I was not too concerned about terrorists getting into the room. My main concern was the hotel catching fire - I had seen the Taj on fire early on Thursday morning. I was on the 23rd floor, so jumping out of the window was not an option. I was very scared when I got a report saying that the Oberoi's roof was on fire and there were small fires in the Trident. Luckily, these fires did not spread.
After several false dawns, I was very relieved to have the army and the hotel staff knock on the door. They lead me down to the lobby, which was strewn with broken glass and splatterings of blood. My passport and baggage was still in my room on the 27th floor and after 20 minutes the staff took me to my room and let me get my stuff.
I was escorted outside, quickly processed and met by the Australian Consul General, Peter Forby, put on a bus to the ITC Maratha hotel, near the airport, from where I am writing to you. I am catching a flight out of here tonight.
I am an Australian living in London and working as a US corporate lawyer for Dorsey & Whitney. I have been to India more than 20 times and Mumbai at least 10 times. I do a lot of work on equity capital raisings for Indian companies, including for Central Bank of India, HT Media (publisher of the Hindustan Times), Jagran Publications Limited (publisher of Jagran Prakashan, the newspaper with the largest readership in the world). I just worked on an equity raising for ibn18 Broadcast Limited, which owns CNN IBN, that closed yesterday. I found it iron