father arrived and took him to another hospital nearby. The path to recovery was long
and painful. Santhumayor spent almost
two months in the hospital. Even after his
release, he had to keep going back for treatment. A marketing professional, he was
unable to attend office for over six months.
He had to use crutches for two-and-a-half
During the frustrating months of hospi-
talization, he admits, there were moments
when all he wanted to do was scream. “You
want to cry. You want to get it out of your
But he was determined not to mope, not
to break down in front of his devastated
parents. Even as his parents struggled to
come to terms with the shocking reality,
they were also worried: “How will we get
him married now?” informs Santhumayor,
Today — after six surgeries, including a
bone-grafting procedure — he walks with a
slight limp. But he has not let the incident
leave a bitter aftertaste.
“Nothing and no one will stop for you.
You might as well move on,” he says.
The traumatic incident has strengthened
his belief in the kindness people are capable of. “You get to see the good side of people. They went out of their way to help me.”
26/11 has also reaffirmed his faith in the
Almighty. “People went through much
worse,” he says. “I am lucky that God saved
Does it bother him that that Kasab — the
only terrorist who was caught alive that
night — continues to be hale and hearty
“Kasab doesn’t bother me,” Santhumayor
says. “To tell you the truth, I don’t even fol-
low it (the developments in the case). I
don’t blame anyone. Everything in our
country is driven by politics.”
Does his injury making him angry?
“There is no point in being angry. Anger
will not give me my leg back. I might as well
accept the situation and move on,” he
What does bother him is that three years
after the 10 armed men exposed the glaring
holes in our defenses and our government’s
absolute ineptness in protecting its people,
“nothing has changed”.
Though he feels “Mumbai is still as vulnerable”, all he hopes for is that the next
time terrorists try to strike, “they find it difficult to get their stuff in, to stage such a
major attack that easily”.
‘I don’t want to be the guy who
got shot by terrorists twice!’
right, being felicitated by
businessman Ratan Tata
Every day when he boards a Mumbai local train to go to office, Ransley Santhumayor warily looks around
for any suspicious packages. He checks
under the seats and keeps an eye on his fellow passengers for signs of suspicious
When he alights at his destination, he
tells himself, “Aajtohmainbachgaya(Igot
“I am a little paranoid,” Santhumayor, 31,
He has every right to be. He was among
the 30-odd people who were shot and left
bleeding, by Pakistani terrorists, in south
Mumbai’s Leopold Café, November 26,
It has been three years since the siege of
Mumbai altered his life irrevocably.
Santhumayor, who believes “self-pity is a
bad thing”, has moved on. He is cheerful
and chatty and far removed from my preconceived notions of what a victim of a terror strike should be like.
Making light of his paranoia, he quips, “I
don’t want to be the guy who got shot by
On the night of November 26, 2008,
when he finally managed to call his broth-
er-in-law Ryan to inform him that he had
been shot, the latter initially didn’t believe
Santhumayor. The reason: Despite a bullet
shattering the bones of his right leg, despite
being in excruciating pain, the tragicomedy
of the moment was making Santhumayor
Unlike other terror attacks that India faces
intermittently and then forgets about, 26/11
has remained emblazoned in our memories.
For it was not a sneakily placed bomb in a
car or an explosive device in a suitcase that
had unleashed terror. On that Wednesday
night, 10 terrorists had arrived in Mumbai
via our unguarded sea route and brazenly
walked into the heart of the city. Armed to
the teeth, they had started shooting indis-
criminately at the many men, women and
children in their path, whose only fault was
that they were at the wrong place at the
wrong time. Santhumayor, who was at the
Leopold Café when two terrorists walked in
with their guns, was one of them. It is a story
that he has had to recount “a zillion times”,
but he doesn’t mind doing so again.
‘There is no recognition of the fact that we stood up to those terrorists’
Something has changed in Sawant’s life.
The policeman now has a cane — a constant
companion, without which he cannot walk.
“After the bullet injury I cannot walk
comfortably without a stick. Inside the
house I don’t need a stick, but maneuver-
ing stairs, walking on the streets — it’s
impossible without support. And I can’t
run at all. My leg hurts badly,” he says, but
admits he was shocked and upset when
the doctor told him the prognosis three