The man who led from front

The man who led from front


Kang’s wife Neeti and sons Samar and Uday were locked up inside their sixth-floor suite at the hotel when the terrorists were wrecking havoc on hapless visitors, throwing hand grenades and spraying bullets.

Then the terrorists started setting rooms on fire using bedsheets and towels. Neeti made a frantic call to Kang, telling him that smoke was coming inside the room. Kang asked her to push wet towels underneath the doors and said he would be rushing there soon.
Kang was on the ground floor lobby, where he was trying to evacuate terrified guests under heavy fire. He could not reach the sixth floor due to smoke and grenade explosions. After some time, he tried to call his wife on her mobile, but there was no response. It was all over.

Kang had met Neeti as a management trainee 15 years ago in Delhi and had fallen in love with her.
They moved in to Mumbai and the family was to shift to their new home in January 2009. The hotel suite was their home during that time.
When the attack started, Kang could have saved his wife and two sons if he had given up his post and ran to the sixth floor, but duty came first.
Personal tragedy did not shake his resolve to be on the post, from where he continued to help the guests.

He guided the police to the CCTV room, and then gave inputs to the marine commandos. His inputs were most valuable for the NSG too. He and his staff managed to save over 700 guests.

Three days later when the siege ended, Kang saw his family, all gutted in the devastating fire. It is terrible to talk to Kang and reopen the wounds of what happened, but his friends and colleagues offer some glimpses of the man, who led them from the front.

After the tragedy, a colleague said, Kang went back to his home town in Punjab. However, he returned soon, and within days started restoring the heritage building, leading a team of 542 staffers.

It was this work that gave some purpose to his life and Kang plunged into it whole heartedly, rebuilding his own life as well.
When you have a leader like this, no wonder others too will follow suit. A management source said not one staffer from the Taj resigned since the tragedy.
In September 2009, Kang won the coveted Virtuoso Hotelier of the Year 2009 award for his commitment and dedication towards his job.

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