The half-eaten food on the plates and the shattered window panes at the Holey Artisan Bakery told a number of stories- of dashed hopes, true friendhip, unborn child, family reunions.
Horror is the word, but there were tales of bravery and immense bonding that the picture did not narrate. The people who survived hell have seen death closely and they do not want to recollect it.
But for the sake of the dead, their tales need to be told; For the entire world should know that these people were innocent, but unlucky, that they had a family, a life, aspirations and dreams that were shattered within those 11 hours of brutality.
The Bakery owner
Met with a close shave with death. Arsalan started the high-end bakery with his wife 2 years ago and it was buzzing with people that night. Ideally, he chooses to be at the restaurant during its peak dinner hours. But he decided otherwise. He picked up Pizza and dessert and meant to return later with a pair of maternity trousers for the pregnant wife of the Italian chef. The he changed his mind and stayed back home.
The three musketeers
Indeed! the three stuck together till the end and died, despite the fact that one of them was offered to let go since he was a Muslim. The story of Faraaz Hossain and his two friends Tarishi Jain and Abinta Kabir were meeting after a long time after their schooling at the American International School. They were either visiting their families on a vacation or were on internships.
Hasnat Karim had brought his family for a treat. Eight of them were celebrating his youngest son Rayan's eighth birthday .
Soon to be married to never again!
Makoto Okamura, a Japanese National was engaged and soon to be married. He was dining with six other Japanese nationals when terror struck and he did not see the dawn of next day.
The great escape
Waiter Diego Rossini will never forget how he escaped the gunmen at 8:45 pm when the gunmen entered the restaurant. Sensing terror, Rossini bolted upstairs to the roof, along with others who knew the layout of the restaurant. He jumped to the roof of a neighbouring building. He escaped with a spine injury. Waiter Shumon Reza also escaped the same way.
Few staffers hid themselves in the restroom, which was temporarily being used to store flour and yeast. Unneccessary to say, the heat was yanked up. One of the gunmen who was splaying bullets downstairs, came upstairs and stood outside the door and demanded if there was a Bengali or a Muslim hiding behind.
He urged them to come out. When none of them did, he presumed that no one was inside and locked the door. Meanwhile, frantic messages and calls were being made from inside the room. "We are here. Break the wall and rescue us," they pleaded in phone calls and text messages to the restaurant owners and their relatives. They too survived.
Cutting a long story short
Detective Rabiul Karim and Officer-in-Charge Salauddin Khan got alerted hearing gunshots. They arrived at Holey Artisan to investigate when they died of sharpnels from exploding bombs. Karim was to return to his village the next day with a new Eid outfit for his little son and something for his unborn child.
The baker and the human bomb
Miraj, the most favorite baker of the town was hiding in a corner, but was discovered by the gunmen. "Everyone else ran away but you couldn't make it," one of the gunman told him. "That means God wants you to die."
He was taken outside, put him a chair and tied bombs and gas canisters around him. He was their human shield. Then the gunmen started separating the Muslims from the Non-Muslims. The Muslims were given food and water. As dawn approached, the staff were instructed to prepare a meal so that the Muslims could eat before beginning their Ramadan fast. The non-Muslims' prayers were not heard and blood spluttered.
Amid the bloody victims lay a white woman with her dinner napkin on her chest.
Faraaz, one of the three friends held hostage, was asked to leave with a few hijab-clad women, but he stayed back with his friends who were not allowed to leave.
It took the government more than 10 hours to arrange for commandos who went in to rescue the hostages and gun down the militants. For 50 minutes, the air was rattling with gun shots. The gunmen knew what was coming and pointed to the bodies on the floor and said, "We're going to be like them soon. See you all in heaven."
Then they let Miraj go.
Hatred cost the life of 9 Italians, 7 Japanese, 1 Indian, 2 Bangladeshis and 1 US citizen of Bangladeshi origin. Whatever the backgrounds of the victims be, they are now united by one common incident-terrorism.