Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Price of War

I still remember September 11, 2001.

I was in Mumbai, India. It was a little after 6pm IST – and I was returning back to office after a long and tiring meeting at Levers. Bumped into a MH at the elevator and he told me there were news reports that a plane had rammed into the WTC. Incidentally, our office in Mumbai – was housed in a building called Trade Centre (freakish or what?).
Dumped my stuff on my table and walked into the TV room where a few people had gathered and were watching the broadcast over CNN. The big-boss PP walks in. “What’s going on?” he enquires. Someone fills him in. He too settles down. There is a silent agreement amongst those gathered, something isn’t quite right here. The presenter herself sounds confused about what’s going on. People chatter amongst themselves, “What do you think is happening?” “You think it’s an accident?” “Weird thing to happen”. Everyone has their own theory.

And then it happens. As we are watching, we see the second plane ram into the second tower. Someone shrieks. The presenter on CNN shouts. An eerie hush descends over us. And I still remember, a chill just went down my spine. We all watched completely paralysed. “Maybe its just a re-play” someone offers. “there cant be 2 of this happening” We hope that’s true. But we just saw it. The first building is still smoking away – and now the second one too. “Hush, you guys” PP says “I wanna hear this”. The CNN team has gone berserk – expectedly. No one knows what’s happening.

I still remember that day – clearly with every detail. The way people rushed out of office – to call near and dear ones in the US. I called home, asked my mom to turn to CNN. Completely shaken I left the room.


I experienced the same feeling again yesterday. We were watching United 93 – a movie that recreates the happening of United Airlines Flight 93 from New York to Los Angeles. This flight never reached its intended target – thanks to the efforts of its passengers. It crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
As for the movie, I must say, it has re-created the confusion over the lost planes, the shock at the events, the resolve amongst the passengers pretty well. It re-creates in real time as the events unfold, on land (in the ATC offices, military control rooms) and in the air.

As we finished the movie, I couldn’t help but brush off the goose bumps on my arms.
Unlike most movies of this genre, it didn’t leave you with a closure – there just wasn’t any. Like there isint any justification for so many innocent people dying – be it in the WTC or in Gaza. No one wants to forget the dead. We cant even if we tried. And so we seek retribution. Some seek it by taking up arms. Others seek it by sending their military to completely unrelated countries. And then more people die. And more people take up arms…….


Just when will this cycle end???

3 Comments:

At 2:24 AM, Blogger artnavy said...

I saw this movie a few months ago and it really moved me. Do you recall the Mumbai riots. Was that not equally terrifying and petty.

I really do not know when we will favour peace.

 
At 4:49 AM, Blogger Usha said...

o we seek retribution. Some seek it by taking up arms. Others seek it by sending their military to completely unrelated countries. And then more people die. And more people take up arms…….

And in all this it is the innocent people who have nothing to do with any of this who end up dying tragically!
I remember that horrible day too - sends a shiver through my body everytime I think of it.

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Something to Say said...

O I recall the riots painfully as well. Very terrifying. Somehow human life seems so frivolous and valueless when such things happen.

 

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