Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy here in the United States; which makes me ponder over where we were ten years ago on that fateful day...
I had just reached work and called in Israel to convey I had arrived safely in office. It was a customary habit we had been accustomed to.
I went and grabbed myself a cup of coffee and was just about to login when Israel called back with a kind of panic in his voice - "Mone! A plane just flew in to one of the world trade center towers!" and suggested I go watch the news. Within minutes he called again with the news of the second plane hitting the second tower.
Just then I heard similar hustle bustle among my colleagues and everybody rushed to the conference room where CNN was playing in the big screens. The first tower had collapsed already and they were showing play backs of that when right in front of our eyes the second tower came tumbling down too! My head was spinning. Holding my head with both hands I slid to the floor in slow motion - sitting flat on the floor. It seemed like I had no energy even to stand and felt like the whole world was closing in. I had just delivered a child and may be that too played a role in my discomfort.
People in the room were crying silently, sobbing in whispers, and no one was talking. Everyone felt helpless, void of any hope. No one went back to their desk. They were all glued to the TV. When I gathered the strength to stand up again I took permission to leave. I just wanted to reach back home to my babies.
Israel too came back home soon. Lot of our friends worked in New York but we were not sure if anyone actually worked in those towers. Tried to reach out a few in vain. More news was coming in on the Pentagon bound flight. There was a widespread rumor at least one more flight was missing in the air. America under attack was the headline flashing across the network. Our hearts melted in fear. Mostly fear of more impending danger.
Within a day or two we were back up and running as normal. Here and there people were sharing how someone they had known had escaped the ordeal or how someone reached home walking over the bridge etc. For a while it seemed like good stories, encouraging stories and I was heaving out a sigh of relief when our phone rang.
It was Keol, a friend of Israel, his former colleague. When I picked up the call she was sobbing on the other end and said Nath hadn't been home yet. It was Day 3. She added that there was a subway train stopped underground and people were still returning home. She hoped he was on it and was on his way home. She had spoken to some priests in Nath's hometown in India who had assured he was alive.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months but there was no sign of Nath. Our hearts sank further. Keol was still waiting and hoping. We didn't know what to say. Then one day she called and said she was ready to accept Nath might be no more. She had a family gathering to bid him farewell, sold her house and moved out of New Jersey. We invited her over to come and spend some days with us; she obliged. That was the least we could do. That was the last we saw of her.
She had deleted her email account, changed her phone number and didn't share her new address and so we had lost touch with her. Over the next nine plus years she has been in our thoughts and prayers more often than she would ever imagine.
This past Christmas there was a cheerful greetings from her in our voice mail; unfortunately there was no call back number so we couldn't reach back to her. But we are now comforted she is fine.
Keol is much loved and we wish her strength through the rest of the way; Nath too is fondly remembered as always...