I Remember 9/11/2001

- The Musings of a Disturbed Teenager

Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, Under Pressure ...

I remember vividly waking up to the news of 9/11 in the year 2001. 
I was home in Kolkata, broad daylight flooded outside and the sky looked a brilliant blue from my window. Looking above I could see an occasional loner cotton cloud floating past in a leisurely pace. The air was crisp heralding the local festive season in a few more weeks. The daily routine of studies was happily forgotten, and the new globalization had taken over the household kid, namely me. Regular doze of the tacky soap ‘Dallas’ had begun to be aired. The globe seemed in my grips, when I was fed with regular airing of Music TV and Fashion TV. I was hooked on to Michael Jackson, Madonna, and the lyrics from Guns and Roses, Pink Floyd, Freddie Mercury, and David Bowie, just to name a few. Now looking back, I feel a part of my DNA was formed in those care free years. That’s when the big gaping hole of horror also attached itself into my DNA on the morning of 9/12 when I watched the previous day’s news unfolding.  
Honestly at first, I was very sure that the images aired on the screen were from the video I saw many times earlier on MTV – ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen. It took me a real half minute to realize that it is not the song being aired in the news channel, but a real horror story that had unfolded when I was fast asleep in my bed, in some remote corner of the world.

The Video

I don’t remember exactly what I had felt once the impact of the news caught me. I only remember holding my stomach and walking slowly towards the bed and sitting there and staring unblinkingly at the television screen.
Being so far away, being so unfamiliar to the trauma that people must have gone through in that terror strike, I remember having a wondrous dark feeling of déjà vu, the feeling having kept returning to me for many years and years after, and haunting me many times even now. (Today I have thought of penning down this feeling, as a therapy, to be able to uproot this for always from my mind).
It was uncanny, how a gawky teenager could only think of a song while having images of real horror unfold before her eyes on a screen, how is it possible that she was slowly humming the lyrics of ‘Under Pressure’ while hearing the horrific news. How can a song recorded way back in early 1980’s by Queen and David Bowie be in the mind of that girl from India who had never set foot outside of her country? I still remember humming those lyrics, repeatedly like a broken gramophone record, till my head felt it would burst:

"It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming, "Let me out!"
Tomorrow gets me higher
Pressure on people - people on streets”

In my re-occuring nightmares, I visualize a scene vividly, more so during the traumatic anniversary moments of 9/11.

A dull brown dusty countryside, occasionally dotted with rugged looking men, as rugged as the bare mountains looming in the horizon. The face of the men hardened with radical thoughts in the name of religion, have deep tans from being always under the sun. Guns hang menacingly from their shoulders while in one far end of the dusty ground, other men line up for strenuous physical practice. In a makeshift shack, one olive skinned militant watches the telly with a bored expression on his face. That’s when MTV plays ‘Under Pressure’, and after a minute of watching it, the militant spits on the ground with a delightful thought. Looking up to a fellow militant standing nearby, he casually remarks,

“What if we blow up buildings this way?”

The other militant stiffens to the suggestion and looks more closely at the TV screen. There's death lurking in his eyes as he replies,

“That’s a brilliant idea, let’s do it against our sworn enemies and create the biggest noise we could ever make in the West, at the wake of their new century!”

My thoughts disturb me. Was it this ways that the horrific idea was born? If it could dwell in the mind of a teenage kid sitting in far flung India, why can’t it take birth in the minds of terror outfits in far flung Afghanistan? I shiver in silence and repeat play the video over and over again on my computer, till my eyes turn red with fatigue and burn with sleeplessness.  
Video embedded from


More by :  Rhituparna Chakraborty

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Views: 3352      Comments: 4

Comment its its ..........what will I say!

04-Nov-2013 01:29 AM

Comment True reflection by you through a well crafted short story.

Jay Sinha
17-Sep-2013 05:59 AM

Comment Your "wondrous dark feeling of déjà vu" couldn't've included memories of Sept. 11, 1973 and what followed because you hadn't been born yet. That was the day President Salvador Allende committed suicide as the Palacio de la Moneda was being bombed and Chile became a nightmare, with the help of the CIA and IT & T. It was a double coincidence: not just the same day of the year but also the number of violent deaths, which was about 3,000 in both cases. About ten times that number of people were arrested and tortured in Chile, and I don't know how many thousands fled the country in order to avoid being murdered. Whenever the destruction of the Twin Towers is commemorated in the U.S., the destruction of a democratic gov't. is remembered down in Chile, every single year. Some coincidences are messages, and in this case the message is so obvious that I shouldn't have to spell it out for you, but regrettably it was necessary to do so.

Some days ago, talking about the situation in Syria and his eagerness to fire things at one of the warring parties there, Barak Hussein Obama had the impudence to claim that in the last 70 years the U.S. has been "the anchor of global security", which is exactly the opposite of what his country has been. It has made the world safe for many, many bloody dictators in what it believes is its own "backyard", namely, Latin America. Those dictators tend to settle down in Miami with their North American wives whenever they're overthrown. That's why I didn't "hold my stomach", like you did. What I did was think that finally justice had been dealt out.

Daniel Rey M.
14-Sep-2013 10:55 AM

Comment Well written Rhituparna! Everyone around the globe was affected by this day and I'm sure that you were one of many who felt the way you did as a teenager. Thank you for penning down your thoughts and sharing them with us.

Simi Silva
11-Sep-2013 12:19 PM

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