Thursday, January 7, 2010
I tried to save my girlfriend from terrorists - and ended up crippled - now she's my saviour every day
By Tessa Cunningham:
Will Pike and girlfriend Kelly Doyle were dressing for dinner at the famous Taj Hotel in Mumbai in November 2008 when terrorists stormed the building.
Will, 30 and Kelly, 33, hid in their room as the Pakistan-trained gunmen set about slaughtering guests and staff - in all 172 people died.
Fearing for their lives, the couple, both freelance film-makers from London, decided to flee - with devastating consequences.
WILL SAYS: I hit the big 30 on December 30th. It's a milestone. And as friends gathered around to toast me, there were so many reasons to feel happy.
I've got a fantastic girlfriend I'll be with for ever, wonderful friends, a terrific family and a great career.
But, while I'm determined to make the most of my 30s, my life is totally different to what I expected. And some days it's hard not to feel angry and bitter.
There are mornings when I look in the mirror and see myself grappling with all the rituals that used to be so simple and the shock hits me anew. How did I end up like this - paralysed from the waist down, unable to do all the things I once took for granted like getting into the shower?
Confined to a wheelchair, I will never walk again. I can never even enjoy a full sex life nor father children normally.
My life wasn't supposed to be like this. But suddenly everything went into freefall.
It was November 2008 and we had decided to take a break in Goa. After two fantastic weeks there, we made the fateful decision to spend our last day in Mumbai.
And so, early in the afternoon of Wednesday November 26, we booked into the Taj Hotel. A magnificent Edwardian throwback to the colonial era, it's one of the world's most famous hotels.
After a spot of sightseeing in Mumbai, we were back in our room changing for dinner when I heard the first gunshot. I'd only ever heard shots on TV but I knew instantly this wasn't a car backfiring.
I rushed to the window and saw a guy ducking behind a car as a second and then a third shot rang out. Something terrible was happening but I didn't know what - or how much danger we were in.
In fact, terrorists were already in the hotel shooting staff and guests at random while ...