The news channel is replaying the news story of that fateful day five years ago, September 11, 2001. I look at the images of smoke emanating from one of the ‘Towers’. People are standing in streets, shading their eyes with their hands to look up at the building. Every one is thinking this to be an accident. One very bad accident. The newsreader’s voice does not shows any alarm, just a tone of concern with a hint of remorse. Smoke continues to rise from the building. The long antena on the roof juts out of the smoke as if mocking it. The ambulance sirens are not howling yet. They will come later.
The screen shows a shadow appearing in the clear sky. Its a plane. Gliding effortlessly through the air, coming in a long lazy curve. Why are they flying so low today? Don’t they see that one has already hit a building! The plane curves more sharply, as if being drawn towards the smoke by an invisible power. But wait … it is going straight towards the smoke! No body had thought that it will too ram straight into the building. The second tower. The plane just disappears into the concrete, as if melting into it. But the other side is not the same. A huge yellow ball of flames circled by grey smoke emerges, seemingly out of the walls. There are loud shrieks. The camera-man seems confused as to where to focus. Up in the air where a hypnotising fire ball is coming out of windows like dragon breath or down in street where all hell seems to have broken loose. Screams, sobs, frigtened faces and horror filled eyes.
Next, fire-tenders are shown trying to douse fire at one of Pentagon’s wings. The walls had started crumbling after a loud noise and a huge fire. A guy thinks it was a cruise missle. Later, it will be ascertained that a commercial airlliner has crashed into the Pentagon.
Some rescue workers are shown rushing towards a smoke cloud from what seems like a jungle. An eyewitness says that a plane had come plummetting towards the ground. The tail fin was pointing towards the wrong side. It was upside down when it crashed behind the trees. Sky is falling today.
The screen conjures up the video feed of two smouldering towers. One burning almost in the middle, the other a quarter way up. The smoke has blackened and flames are leaping out from windows as if they are trying to escape the buildings too. People, mere specks, arching out of windows, waving frantically. Some others can wait no longer to be rescued. They jump out and seem to be moving in slow motion. In the street, a lady is crying out loud. Streams of people come rusing out of the Towers. The lucky ones. Some with clothes and hair disshelved, some wailing and some with bruised faces. But they are very lucky as they will later realize.
The police men are motioning the people to clear the area. Helping the hurt to move. But the crowd is still there. The urgency in the sirens has increased. Then there is a rumbling noise. Something has happened. Another plane?! A long shot of the Towers comes up. The tower hit in the middle by the second plane seems to be tilted a bit to one side. Then it starts to crumble down. There is utter mayhem. Every body wants to run now. The roof of the tower seems to be dissappearing down in smoke. It keeps going down faster and faster untill everything is covered in smoke and dust. One cameraman is running with his camera facing backwards. The video is wobbly but I can see a dense dust cloud rushing between the streets, engulfing every car, every person. There is a thick layer of ash and dust on the roads.
Some time later the second tower crumbles down too layer by layer like a card house. My attention moves to the live news feed scrolling at the bottom of the TV screen. It reads –
Al Qaeda warns of attacks in Gulf, Israel. 4 French tourists abducted in Yemen. Saddam trial resumes after 3 week break. US warns North Korea on nuclesr tests. Japan launches satellite to spy on North Korea. Malegaon blasts: Police release sketch of third bomber.