I remember that day in September 2001 so well; during discussions at the office with TV on, someone cried, “Gosh, the pilot misjudged!!!” seeing the plane hit one of the Towers. And when another hit the other Tower, we were speechless. “How can this happen?” The sight of tumbling skyscrappers and bombs of flowing ash and smoke seemed unreal then and brought back painful memories on this day when we visited the new World Trade Centre.
After 9/11, I had visited the site twice and sat staring where once stood the two iconic towers.
The names of the dead carved out on granite, with flowing water like in a step-well, is where I stood to click a picture and accidentally got the image of a soothing hand. Who was Frank Joseph Doyle? A name on a pillar, a life snatched, a mind that sensed the last minutes of living, frightened exchanges, hopeful miracles, brave helping and maybe, a fleeting realisation of what all should have been attempted!
We sat in silence, each with ones thoughts. An indifferent sponge-like organ, the evolved human brain, had done all this – created 2 showpieces, retaliated with hatred and now recreated with determination. Why ? We were not after answers. We had a sense of history repeating itself in similar situations. Most icons have been destroyed by rivals; with less anger, some maybe converted. Few remain a shared heritage, like our Taj Mahal .
“I saw the image of the passing airplane on the shining surface of the tower.” My mind reacted.
“I know, like the cat crossing. Superstition and Survival bias are not easy to remove. The good thing is many visit the place and a community is created; museums and laser shows remind but what is important is the feeling of “lets move on” – a recreated Somnath temple is a place to be with goodness.
“I see the sadness in Taj Mahal and its whiteness like a forever glow. Same way, the whiteness of the WT station with its many exits and train connections and openness makes you want to sit down and maybe do a few Yoga asanas.”
“The sunset from the 100th floor and the view around gives you a perspective; nature outranking human creations and cluster of communities nested in New Port / New Jersey, areas of Bronx and Queens, world communities in Manhattan Central Park hidden among the tall structures, the travellers in many ferries and on the famous Brooklyn Bridge.”
“Yes the Observatory reminds me of that movie, Sleepless in Seattle; how lonely it would be for the Security person, if any at night. So many, but so far away.”
And the many identified familiar traces, their own locations and a few looked beyond… at those many strips (Gaza, et al) which were no one’s responsibility, harbouring David’s with sling shots.
Mind recollects and sees things – is it a victory tower or a stupa ?
Photograph by Devang Desai