Saturday, September 10, 2011

A decade, and 9/11 still feels like it happened yesterday!

For 10 years, this week, this day, has come and gone, leaving me terrified, shaking, teary eyed, angry, overwhelmed, and also grateful to have my Hubby safe, by my side and at the same time, almost feel guilty for being among the lucky ones who got to hug, kiss and be with my loved one, while there were so many others who didn’t get to do the same. There was nothing on earth that could provide them with the same comfort as I felt!

Every brings me back to this question that I dread to even put into words, “WHAT IF?!”  Leaves me trembling! As scary as those words are to me…Those moments had left a life long scare in all of us..

Even today…, when Hubby dear leaves for work, there is this discomfort in the pit of my stomach, that I feel every morning, with a question..”Will he come back safe for dinner?!” There hasn’t been a single morning, since that dreadful day, 10 years ago,  when I’m not subconsciously praying that he stays safe, comes back home still feels like he’s going into a war zone, every morning! 

There have been days when Hubby would have missed my calls for any reason, and I had immediately put on the TV news to check if everything was alright and finally when he picks, how I had gone berserk with him on the phone…

In the time we were struggling to contact Pavan on that terrifying day, a lot of drama had ensued at home too! The live coverage on TV, especially when the towers started to fall, was the point I had lost it and started to wail, as I had still not heard back from Pavan.  Remembering all that still gets me weak in my knees, every single time. Reading the stories of survival and lose of life, the pictures of people leaping to their death because they didn’t want to be burnt alive gets me sick.  And its already 10 years since that happened and it feels like yesterday, for me.

How casually I had taken the first bits of news of the plane hitting the towers and just in a few more minutes finding myself in a big crisis, slowly realizing that I didn’t even know which tower Pavan is in, or which floor he worked on! As I dashed home..hoping, praying that Pavan would’ve already called…his parents.

My In-laws who were visiting us at that time had a shock from which they haven’t recovered till date.  My MiL’s cries from that day still haunts me..My FiL was going through his own agonizing moments.  And I wanted to keep my calm and try to find a way that I could do something. 

I remember feeling terrible listening to those cries. I had wanted it to stop.  I had wanted her to stop crying. I remember pressing my hands against my ears. It sort of made me feel like something was really wrong with Hubby dear.  I had wanted her to be positive,  that my Hubby would be safe and is going to call us soon…which he did in a few more minutes..but, how can I explain how long all those minutes had felt! It feels so weird to remember myself from that day, and how I had reacted in that moment of crisis..

This replay of events as the day had unfolded, of that day,  has been going on in my mind for a decade now, every time, giving me the sweats. Terrified to even imagine any other outcome for my family.  Sure, we were among the lucky, very very lucky ones! After hugging Hubby dear that evening, which was when he was able to reach home,  I had thought, I don’t think I have anything to complain in life about.  But, it hasn’t left us untouched.  It did change our lives for ever.  Some for good and some for worse.

For one, Pavan and me realized that there is no problem or argument between us that could be bigger than our relationship, bigger than us, that, we would never step out the door, anytime, mad with the other.

Every time, I feel cross with him, every time I feel I need to walkout of an argument that we’d be having..the first thing that crosses my mind are the stories of the people who didn’t get to even say a proper good bye to their lost loved ones, and what they would give to have just one more time with their loved ones, all these thoughts makes me realize how inconsequential our tiff is!  It reminds me exactly what it was…a tiff!  So miniscule!

Till this day, Pavan is unable to wash off the memories of the fire fighters he had seen as he was getting down the tower. Their faces, their smiles, their words of encouragement to the people getting down are memories that can never be expunged from our minds. 

Till this day, Pavan’s parents get panicky sitting in India, that they haven’t received a call from their son.  If they are visiting us..they don’t feel at peace until Pavan is home in the evening. The pacing of my MiL from room to room while she waits for her son to come back home in the difficult to forget or ignore, even when they are not visiting us…How she would just calm down and take a seat and watch TV as soon as Pavan walks in through the door. That day had surely changed our lives for ever.

It was last year that the kids had really realized the gravity of what happened on that Tuesday of September 11 and what it had meant for us, as a family! We had hugged and cried together for the first time after all those years with our kids, about something that happened when they weren’t even born, not even conceived! It had made me realize that my kids are not kids anymore. We had felt so blessed to be the family we are.

Sept 11 will always remain in our memories not just for the horrendous event but also for the show of great support. On one hand an event of appalling magnitude was unfolding and on the other,  it was so heartening to watch all that support from the public, of the guardian angels and good Samaritans who came out in such large numbers to help the people in need. What opposites to watch on the same day..People going out of way to help others while there were others who belonged to the same species who had created this hideous devastation, this mayhem.  And for what?!  Every reason as ridiculous as the the next.

How can religion get so messed up that it becomes a reason to wreck havoc in other’s lives?!

My blog on this last year!


Rachna said...

It was a chilling experience, and you really went through hell. I remember waking up and watching the horrendous images on TV. God bless Pavan and keep all of you safe and happy. Such incidents make us realize the importance of family and our relationships above all else as you rightly pointed out. Everything else seems so trivial in comparison to just having each other close.

lakshmi said...

Dear Gayatri and family,
Reading the blog brought tears into my eyes, if a blog could do that to me I can imagine HOW horrible experience the whole family went thru'. Very touching blog, Gayatri.
Back then, when this happened we were not introduced to each other.I did not realise how closely it would affect our family too!
Today, when I know you as you are (thanx to FB) I want say that you are very very lucky and reading your blog made me too understand a few valuable lessons. Incidents such as these change us forever! We should be grateful to God and LIVE each moment.
I wish what tragedy occured that day never ever to happen. God bless the souls! God bless the world!

Manjusha said...

Hi Gayatri,

I came across your blog from the follower list of my site (). Been following your posts very closely, you're a great writer, and sound like a great mom too :)

This post of yours truly touched my heart.. makes me realize how lucky we are to still be alive in this terror-stricken world! May God bless us all!

Renu said...

Incidents like this change our outlook towards life forever..we start valueing it more.
I still cant understand the minsset of those people who create hevoc with other's lives for their so called demands.