Just returned from the Oberoi where hundreds are still inside – Indians, foreigners, cooks and cleaners. London in 2005, Mumbai trains 2006.

Each time I follow the same movements – learn what, locate where, retrieve family, check team, do phoners, make frantic calls with London desks.

And then reflect… strangely I was in both hotels just hours before Wednesday’s attacks.

Heavy security at the Taj in place since Islamabad Marriot bombing had just been lifted. As I entered to pick up a cake at 6 p.m., I pushed my way around a metal detector. I was in a hurry, the security guard gave me a knowing glance.

At 6:30 p.m. I was at the Oberoi – I walked in for a haircut (I have a thing for the hotel’s traditional barber shop). In the lobby two heavily decorated Maharashtra police officers chatting. One carrying a wooden baton with shiny metal tips. How odd it looked – what would it be used for I wondered… a marching band?