15 Years Later – Part I

15 Years Later – Part I

- in NGI Opinions, Politics

15 years ago – I remember the day vividly; that memory is framed in the darkest abyss of my being! It was an early Tuesday September morning in Boston. Very pleasant weather – the grass in my lawn was wet with dew. The school bus came and picked up all the kids. The birds were singing as usual. The only noticeable change was the ivy plant climbing up the pine tree in my back yard, which had a few leaves bright yellow and some red – announcing the coming of the fall season.

I was going to take my car to the dealer, for some repair and then, proceed to work. I somehow did not turn on the radio. At the dealership, it appeared almost nobody was working there – everyone was glued to the large TV screen in the waiting area – it was CNN. One of the World Trade Center towers was hit by a plane. We thought it was an accident until we saw the 2nd plane hit the other tower, and then the idea of terrorism appeared.  The channel was showing the pictures of the planes hitting the towers again and again.

Shocked and shaken – but, I had to go to work! I got my car back and headed for work via interstate 90, which crisscrosses America from east to west. After driving for few miles on the 65 miles speed limit, highway traffic completely stopped. Everybody was listening to the radio and a blood-clotting thrill was visible over the 3-lane highway’s bumper-to-bumper traffic jam. America never had something like this since the Pearl Harbor bombing. The sky was also silent – all flights were downed. It took over 6 hours for all flights on air to be on grounded. A strange eerie feeling dawned on America. Normally, you would see at least 4 planes flying above you, at any given time. There was absolute freedom in the sky –a  rare experience indeed, which stretched on for 3 full days!

At work, everybody was in a way, quiet. There was a TV screen and we spent most of the day watching the unfolding news, including other two planes crashing. My ‘learned’ boss asked me a strange question – you guys deal with terrorism in India – don’t you have it regularly? I wish I could have said  that while India suffered, America looked the other way; and, unfortunately, now it is America’s turn to experience something like this – but I just nodded!

I called my wife, who was visiting India, and she panicked – because one plane flew from Boston. She asked who did it? Without any real knowledge I said – “It must be Laden!”

On the other hand, my brother-in law in New York, worked in a building very close to the towers. We could not contact him on his phone. There was this heaviness in my chest – an inexpressible feeling for hours. Later, we found out that luckily, he did not manage to even get out of the subway, after reaching his destination. He walked 20+ miles to get home in Queens – with no food, no water, no communication – along with hundreds of others. The sight he described was like a scene from the movie Armageddon!

When the planes started to fly again after couple of days, every time a plane flew over me, I had the same sensation in my chest – the same feeling – oh my God! It took months to overcome this paranoia. And the horrific scene of people jumping off of the towers will never be erased from my head!

I ventured to visit the site few days later. Smoke was still coming out from ground zero. A horrific smell emanated from burnt flesh, fuel, building materials and what not! Suddenly, I felt a strange back pain. As if someone was stabbing me with a knife. It was short, but sharp. I almost went into oblivion and felt that hundreds of pain-stricken disembodied beings were screaming, followed by hundreds of whispers and then absolute silence, which was broken by a police officer asking me to move on!

After a few days, I opened a book from my collection, about Swami Vivekananda. The page opened to his Chicago Address. I looked at the date – September 11, 1893!! And what he said at the Parliament of the World Religions, was very powerful. Yet, the irony was that a very bad event descended on America on the same day in 2001!

“Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.”

His message is more relevant today than ever before!

The age of terrorism has arrived!

age of terror


Click here for Part II 

About the author

Kanchan co-founded the NGI platform and portal in 2008. Kanchan is a prominent NRI living in Boston, USA for over 3 decades. His interests include History, Neurology, Yoga, Politics and Future of mankind. His top hobbies are travelling, cooking and writing. Email: Kanchan@newglobalindian.com


  1. You bring harsh memrories back. I saw it too on TV. Now rest of the world knows where India is, partly because they showed where Pakistan and Afganistan are on TV so many times. World still does not know and part of the world does not want to know the biggest halocaust that happenned to the mankind and that happenned to the Hindus in India!

    1. Sanghamitra Chaudhuri

      I could actually see the entire assail through your eyes. The fright, the paranoia, and the awakening that brought a heavy head down to ground… Nobody ever thought America would be attacked too; Its only Middle East and Asia that are the quarry of Terrorism and its target. Love to hear more from you.

  2. Great piece Kanchan. Especially the pertinent and timeless sentiments of Swami Vivekananda. I was doing a stint at Penn State University in State College at the time and was saddened by what I saw; as I am by what we see in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and other places.

  3. The two powerful demons are using two different weapons, one is using Sword and another is using pen and they have made this beautiful world a hell in some parts of the world.
    Only Hindu can bring the peace on this earth
    Until Hindu become very strong in economy and assertive, these two demons will prevail.

  4. The vivid description you gave Kanchan, really brings to mind the emotions and eerie sensations of such a bizarre and unprecedented event. Reading the words of Swami Vivekananda, the voice of prophecy gave me chills. Thank you for this view of that time. I was out of the country then.

  5. Pingback: 15 Years Later Part II – New Global Indian

  6. I was in Berkeley. I got woken up by a call at 6 AM (pacific time). I stood in my pajamas in the living room, glued to the TV till around noon. Six hours straight. Then I had to get dressed and go to teach. In class I told the kids that this was serious and class was cancelled.

  7. Dr Saradindu Mukherji

    Very graphic ! Just one point-this terrorism which KB talks of did not come with the blasting of Twin towers. At least, we in India must remember that it arrived with the invaders of Sind in 7th century and the armed boats from Arabia which attacked our Western coast.

    These jihadis enjoy a theological sanction and are emboldened by “secular” lobby in various countries which actually flourishes on petro-dollar, hawala money, a particular communal vote bank and the opportunism of the political class all across the world.

    It is time for a decisive action. Patience of the victims is also running out fast.

    The enemy has been identified and it is time to deal with them without any hesitation.

  8. Clear and vivid picture of that horrible day. It reminds me of 26/11 terror on Taj hotel, India when we were glued to the TV and watched the horror. Will it ever end or continuously get escalated? Newer terror groups are coming up with newer terror technologies in the name of religion. Do we need religion at all at this point of time? Education (proper )should slowly replace religion.More number of people are killed everyday in the name of religion compared to natural disaster or anything else. I think, undermining religion should start now…it is the right time.

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