I distinctly remember this day in 2001. I was not yet in the US but was going to start my first job with a US company in their Indian office. When the planes crashed, it was near dinner time in my house in Chennai and my granddad was alive and watching TV. Suddenly, he called me to witness what was happening in downtown NY as it was broadcast to the world. To be honest, my first reaction was that this was some action reel and I was annoyed that he had disturbed me from a book, I was engrossed in, for a show and tell. But, then, it was not a joke and an absolute shock even to those of us who lived far away. Even though India is not a stranger to terrorist activities, in the Southern city I lived in, I was fairly insulated.
13 years have passed. I now live in NYC and my grand-dad lives in the Heavens above. But, sadly, the world has hardly changed around us.
I am still a touch insulated. And, for that, I am forever grateful to the security measures around this city. For the random bag checks and extra TSA screenings. I don't complain because, truth be told, it is all a pain in the ass but it keeps me feeling safe. A lot more than I can say for my own country, where seriously, bombers come off the boat and simply walk into hotels and start shooting.
Nevertheless, it is hard not to reflect on the existence of fear to start with and the inability of people to accept each other and not try to make the other a clone of self. I truly amaze at how governments play bully. In the "dark ages" it was the might of power, brute force, army, bodies. Today, it is still power but now re-phrases 'influence', green backs, economics, paper and still bodies....
I can only hope as each year passes that we learn more compassion and acceptance, learn to forgive, learn to respect and learn to love our differences.
So, when we look back on the incident, it is not with pain but with humility.