"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan




It ends when the plane hits the ground. Very aptly, they did not show anything further. Neither reactions nor repercussions. Like its tagline says, "four planes were hijacked on the morning of September 11th. Three of them reached their intended target. This is the story of the fourth.."
It is a real challenge to depict the events of Sept.11 without scratching a wound or two. The topic is so sensitive in the American context that folks could very easily take offense to it. In this respect, United 93 was a very well crafted movie.

Most of the people, unable to bear the recall of horror, had walked out on the movie much before it ended... But while the rest moved out at the end, I found myself losing to a strange (hitherto unfelt) vicious subconscious. Something that was maiming and dragging me.. as I went spiraling into this bottomless abyss. Plunging into the depths of the mind at the speed of thought. What could have provoked such drastic measures? What drives men to such lengths of fanaticism? What creates monsters of this size?

While I drove back, I opted to remain silent - in tribute to all those innocent lives.

While in silence... some scenes from the movie flashed back. The morning when each of them reads their prayers and prepares unemotionally for the ultimate sacrifice. The waiting at the airport when they see people around them casually going about their business.. unaware of the gory fate that awaited them. The smile on the airhostess faces wishing everyone a pleasant journey. The effort put in by air traffic control to ensure smooth operation and safety of passengers they never knew or met all their life. The dilemma that Ziad Jarrah went through. The hijack and storming of the cockpit. Discussions between the passengers. The revolt to wrest control of the cockpit. The final plummet towards ground zero. I saw it like it actually happened in front of my eyes...

I can clearly recall the tremors in my gut when passengers boarded the plane. The biting of my nails as the plane took off. My silent agitation when the hijackers strike. My sympathy towards the passengers' haplessness. My small cry of victory when passengers revolt back. And those invisible tears I shed while walking back to my car.

Then I started recalling the various stories that we read in everyday newspapers. Of the developed economies misusing the third world populations. Of the living hell that war has reduced Afghanistan to. Of the ashes that Iraq is covered with. Of the blood that soaks the streets of Palestine. Of the children in Sudan and Rwanda that wield guns when they should be holding pens. Of the ethnic cleansing that used to burn Vietnam.

Then I felt... Probably the events that led up to Sept 11 justified the events that happened on Sept 11. Whether it was right or not is extremely subjective but if an eye is what you take, then an eye is what you gonna lose...

That night I dreamt I was on United 93. I was seated in the first row right next to Ziad. I could see him making gestures to his men. I could feel the vibes, the palpitations of his heart as he prepared for the final act. I saw his partners prepare to get up from their seats... I saw Ziad remove his seat belt... and somehow I did not want to stop him.
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