September 11, 2007

The day that came to be known simply as 9/11

Tuesday 9/11/2001, exactly 6 years ago to the day.

My commute to my office at White Plains, New York (about 20 miles from NYC) was the usual...boring, sleepy. Just one look outside the window on my way to get a coffee and I realized that things were not just the usual that day. Huge amounts of smoke were coming out of one of the towers at the World Trade Center (WTC). I rushed to catch the news and at that point, no one was certain as to what had happened. The initial thoughts were that a small airliner had flown into the tower by accident. The TV cameras were focused on the burning mass and then, all of a sudden, another plane appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and crashed right into the other tower! It was such a strange thing to watch it happen live. Everyone in front of the TV was in total disbelief for a second. It was a little too surreal. Did we actually watch a plane ram into the WTC? Who would be mad enough to do that and why? The probability of 2 accidents on the same day at the same place was pretty low. It was then that it began to hit people that it was indeed some sort of an attack. And then the pandemonium began.

I have interesting memories of the WTC. I first went there in 1998 with a few friends. We partied at the 'Windows of the World' bar that was on the top most floor. The walls were completely made of glass and the place looked fantastic! Any which way you looked, you got a superb view of the city. The drinks and food were obvisouly pricey, but who cares when you're literally on top of the world (in more ways than one)! My next visit was as a 'tourist' when my family visited me in 2003. We went all the way to the top, stood in line to get the customary photograph, had some bagels and coffee, and then came back down. Those were my only trips into the towers. I've seen the NYC skyline dozens of times though; during airport runs, impromptu drives into the city for a meal and while flying over NYC. I can't put into words how I felt everytime I saw the towers. They stood tall and proud, imposed upon everything around them, but with a gentle, subtle beauty.

Since that day, I couldn't bring myself to look to the side as we crossed the bridges to go into NYC. But the day we flew out of America and headed back to India for good, I had to have one last look. At the place that once was.


Raks said...

Reks, simply superb! I must say you brought out the essence of what everyone feels of 9/11. way to go! u seem to be playin around with the hidden talent all these years. Look forward to more such blogs!!! keep it going!!!


mustirao said...

Unfortunately, I didn't have the fortune of going up the WTC. Such a shame after living in that area for 8 months. I think we both walked past it that one day you came into the city when we took the SI Ferry. You are right, the towers were like the gateway to the city.

LGV said...

Really touching Rekha. When we visited NY in 2003, I could not even bring myself to look at Ground Zero. In an eery coincidence, Guru took the same flight, same day, just a week before from NY to SJ and he says it gives him shivers even now.

Rebecca said...

Touching reks. Reading ur post after many days

Rebecca said...

Touching reks. Reading ur post after many days

Arpita Das said...

Lovely piece, Reks.