Everyone has memories of that day. Doesn’t matter where you were, you remember watching. In horror. In astonishment. In incredulity. And maybe, in detachment.
I lived in Dubai then. I was in grade 10. It was a major year for me. I was going to give my grade ten CBSE board exams. Anyone who has ever studied within the Indian education system, will know how scary they can be. Of course, the exams themselves are easy. But the idea of having your name and grades being publicly published for the world to see is terrifying for a 15/16 year old.
So, there I was. That evening. Studying about Hitler and Mussolini. The phone rang.
“T**** [my embarrassing nickname]! Farida is on the line,” mom called out.
Glad to get a break, I went.
“Hey, what’s up?” I asked, bored.
“Switch on the tv! Some buildings are falling down!”
“Some buildings! Hit by a plane!”
I hung up, and went back to Hitler and Mussolini. Who the hell cared if some idiot pilot had run into some skyscrapers?
My dad came home an hour later.
“Switch on the tv! The Twin Towers have been hit!”
There was a rush to locate the remote.
“Yeah, Farida called and said some buildings were hit,” I said, lamely.
My dad thought I was crazy.
Years later, in 2006, I was in New York. I remember going to the site. And, feeling a strange sense of emptiness.
I realise I am atleast 19 days late on this post. But better late than never, I always say.
Photograph: Copyright Sanchari Sur