Friday, September 10, 2010

9 Years

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Its already 9 years for that horrible day, Tuesday 9/11. It was the day, we were given a second chance at life while so many of them had lost theirs or their loved ones. I still get restless at the thought of the tremendous lose that so many people experienced at the hands of those terrorists. I also thank god for showing his grace on my family.

It had been 2 months that Pavan had joined this new job. I only knew that it is in the world trade center. I didn’t know if his office is in tower 1 or 2 nor did I know which floor. I thought it was 23rd floor maybe. On that day, I had gone to work as usual and reached my work around 8.45am.  I was logging into my computer when I heard my co-workers talking about a small plane hitting one of the towers.  They were talking about it very casually and there was no panic in their voices.  I joined in and tried to find the details. We tried to get CNN or any news channel’s page on the internet and nothing was coming up.

As people started to gather with other versions and my calls to Pavan were not going through, I realized the gravity of the situation, that this was indeed a bad thing, a very bad thing, a seriously bad thing and called home to find out if Pavan’s parents received any call from him. They hadn’t.  I started back home, not that I had a plan but, I thought I could do something. When I went home, I watched on TV with horror as the events unraveled.  I ran to the local police station trying to see if  they could help me and all they could do was take my contact information and tell me that they would contact me if they had any information. Totally helpless I went back home since Pavan’s parents were in a very bad state, and I couldn’t leave them alone.

My mind was going through a roller coaster, sometimes being sure that Pavan would have made it out and sometimes thinking the worst.  I knew my neighbor’s wife also worked in the twin towers. So, I ran to him to find out if his wife had contacted him.  She hadn’t. Then, I saw one of the towers fall down on TV.  I had lost it by then.  Even, my MiL was crying like crazy. I was requesting the gods to be merciful on us and trying to make all kinds of deals with them. I really didn’t know what to think and what to do..I hadn’t felt this helpless ever. Then around a little before 10.30am…my neighbour ran to me to tell me that he got a call from his wife and that she was fine.  He told me not to worry that, Pavan would be fine too.

She worked in the 50th floor of the 2nd tower. This gave me hope that if a person from the 50th floor was able to get out, maybe Pavan also would have made it fine out of the building. In another 10-15 minutes, I got a call from Pavan telling me he was fine. I was shouting and shrieking out of joy. It was a site to watch but, I was totally ecstatically crazily screaming and jumping out of joy.  I felt like I was born again. Pavan’s parents calmed down too.

It was almost night, when Pavan reached home. Since the whole transportation system was shut down it took a while for him to come home. When he came, we all hugged like we had never before. Even Pavan hadn’t realized the gravity of the situation, as he had walked down the stairs of the tower and away from it. As he was crossing the Brooklyn bridge he had seen one of the buildings collapse.

He had so many stories to tell me that night, as we watched the TV in horror, the damage and death this act of terrorism had left. He told me of people who had offered to drive him even if it meant going off their route, of people who lent their phones to each other so people could reach their families and inform them, of those fire fighters that he saw were climbing up the tower when he was getting down (the memory of their face still so fresh in his mind), of the decent way with which people were getting down the stairs without anybody pushing anybody else, even helping people who weren’t able to walk down the steps, of people who were running back towards the tower to see this surreal event first hand, instead of getting away from the area, of the police man who was standing at the bottom of the tower trying to get people to move away from the building. 

That night, I came to know that Pavan was actually on the 38th floor of tower 1 about to walk up to the 40th, when the building shook and he had seen rubble fall down from the window. Some instinct told him to take the stairwell and walk out of the building. He hadn’t even gone back to the desk to take his bag or his phone which in hind sight was the best thing he did.

We were scared to leave each other’s hand for a few days after that. It was like god had given us this second chance and we couldn’t thank him enough.  I want to take this moment to pray for all the families who lost loved ones and pray for peace in this world and request each of my readers to do the same.


Venky (வெங்கி) said...

I am with you on your prayers.

Anonymous said...

I will.

Sameer Palle

Bhupesh said...

Let the peace prevail.

Rachna said...

Yes, didi. Sometimes in life, in these moments, we realize how lucky we are and how things could have gone horribly wrong. I can imagine the horror you went through, and luckily everything ended well for you.