Saturday, September 09, 2006

Remembering 9/11

Wow. Time does fly! It's already been 5 years now since it happened!

I sit back now and think about it, I can still remember that day very vividly. It had been about a month and a half since I landed in the US. College had started on Aug 20th and so I was about 2 weeks into the semester.

September 11th, 2001 started late for me. It was about 10.30am when I was rudely woken up by loud banging on my front door. Groggy and irritated, I ran downstairs. (Yes, we were students and we were living in a town house! Ah! The pleasures of living in North Carolina). I opened the door to find my neighbour Deepak almost slamming his feet into my chest. He exclaims loudly "Machan.. apparantly there's been some bombings up north in Washington, NY and a lot of other areas. Everyone is in a state of panic, so just call home and tell them you're fine."
Okay.. now what do I do? I don't have a calling card. I don't have TV to find out what the heck is going on. I don't have a computer to mail my parents. So, I take my sweet time to get ready.. and then I walk to the AFC (Avent Ferry Complex, the nearest computer lab, which is about a mile away). I still am no wiser when I walk into the lab. I leave an offline message with my parents telling them not to worry and that I'm safe n sound (from what?? I still don't know!). Then, I start reading the news on CNN and they have a developing story on what the heck is happening. It's only then I understand the full magnitude of what happened. I catch a few 5 second clips on the dust and smoke, but thats about it.
The next few days in America were hell I think for most non-Americans. There was a lot of hostility in general towards foreigners in America. We got a few reports of Indian students (mainly Sardhars) being the brunt of some violence all across America. It was the work of a few misguided souls who couldn't tell the difference between a Sikh and a Taliban turban! I remember one of my Surdi classmates was shit scared of walking back alone in the nights from the AFC. Understandably so.
The days passed by, and then almost 5 years later, I move back to India. I was watching the Discovery Channel on evening, and there they had a recap of the whole incident. It was then that I realized, that I had never actually seen the actual clip of the planes flying into the Twin Towers! None of us back at NC State had a TV at that point of time and caught up with the whole rat-race to find a part-time job/assistantship on campus! Blame it on the PIGS (Poor Indian Graduate Student) syndrome!

Anyway, what happened after this incident is history. The economy which was already reeling from the bust, was just pummelled further to the ground by 9/11. It is one of those economy shocks we read about in our Global Economics course. Heavy security restrictions was imposed on all foreign nationals. They put in a new tracking system (SEVIS) to keep track of foreign students. NC State came up with some wierd ass interpretation of the new rules for international-students to maintain their F1 status. What a pain it was!

Today, I read about a bunch of US professors from all across the country claiming that the entire 9/11 incident was an inside job.

Professor Jones said it was impossible for the Twin Towers to have collapsed in the way they did from the collision of two planes.

He says jet fuel does not burn at temperatures high enough to melt steel beams and claims horizontal puffs of smoke seen during the collapse of the towers are indicative of controlled explosions used to bring down the towers.

W T F ?

Ofcourse, I read the article on Times of India (yeah.. that tabloid :-P), so I really don't know how true this is! It might just be one of those conspiracy theories.

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