Welcome to a new world!
Thats was the banner headline that the newspapers should have carried on September 12, 2001. Nineteen men changed the way the world was and impacted virtually everybodies lives in some small way or another. Even half a world away, even for us sitting in India.
So what was doing when the planes crashed into the Twin Towers. I was sitting in office, EchTee those days when the peon Daya came in and said, "Voh Amrika mein voh building usme aag lag gaya." My bosses cabin had a old 14" TV and we switched over to CNN to see the North tower ablaze. Two-three minutes later the South tower was hit and I watched, mouth agape. My News Editor had by that time also come to where we were along with many other colleagues and we just watched, flabbergasted as CNN began playing various angles of the United plane smashing into the South Tower, I didn't know what to to do or say. I was a mere trainee and had joined the newspaper some two months ago and there was not much that could do, other than say what can the India angle be. But it was almost seven in the evening, half the world would be on their various ways home.
Then just as I was about to leave, the Pentagon was hit...
Some guys had hit America where it hurts, and bloody hard./ Not just America, they had hit New York, the world's greatest city, the Rome of our times. All that I could say was Whoa!
I went to Rohit's place after that and we watched more of the attacks, but by then there was too much information for the mind to process, there were leads and counter-leads and all sorts of things going on. Callous as it might sound, we went out to catch some grub knowing full well that we had tons of friernds in Manhattan who worked Downtown. And we also knew that we couldn't get through to them and wished they were all well. My cousin brother, who those days lived in the Village, somehow managed to sleep through the entire thing and only woke up later, another friend studying in NYU also staying in the village went through ten rolls of film. A third person I knew saw the entire thing from the Staten Island Ferry terminal.
Did I know that things would be different even before George Bush climbed onto the rubble. Yup, I did, everybody did. Flying would be different, not that domestic flying in India was ever very easy. The economy might go into a slight state of shock and the price of oil might go up and you knew the Taliban would fall.
Did I think Iraq would have happened, did I think that I would pay 50 bucks for a litre of petrol, did I think that cousins and friends would be stopped and interrogated by the TSA. My cousin Geetanjali, 5-foot nothing, and quite Texan - born and brought up in Dallas gets stopped quite often because of her name - Geetanj-ALI - you don't know how to reconcile that, another Cousin Tichti (thats not his real name) quite rotund, born in London and a UK passport holder was interrogated for four hours at Newark because he happened to have visted India twice in the last one year. (Me, with stubbly beard, a recipe for disaster my father warned me! walked into Atlanta. Makes no sense!) Those are just random stories, and I'm sure everybody who is 'inconviniently' brown has there fair share of stories too.
Five years, lot has changed in my life as well. My personal life went through its own 9/11 - weird isn't it, the way we classify any massively traumatic experience as a 9/11-esque one but like New York, I've recovered somewhat, with a few scars though the nightmares continue sometime, because no matter how much you want to destroy the connection your synapses made, you can't. You can just hope to shove them into some corner, deep, deep inside your brain. Of course, in case you do such a thing psychoactive substances should be avoided, but I didn't know that.
Life does move on, but sometimes it doesn't, sometimes events of the past still dictate your present and maybe even your future. Maybe five years on, it won't matter anymore. I'll be 32 by then heading rapidly towards 33, god knows where the world will be and where I will be be. God knows, I might even be dead by then! But, all I know is that I saw the world change, Live on TV!
On another note, because a colleague went to this school and I want to take her trip (heh heh!), I will link the story about the mad nuns of Loreto Convent, Lucknow (TV follow-up). I guess this is what happens when too much occult stuff starts playing on TV. And then, BJP goons, do what they do best! Though the BJP is trying to clarify that these goons might not be 'BJP' workers at all and instead random unemployed youth with BJP flags.
Yet another note, I've added easy feed subscription links on the right bar, just click and enjoy my inanities - I hate the 0 subscriber count. Blogger Beta has changed all the feed links, so please update them. Thanks!