We will enter the Splendid cities

Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won’t be.
Not like it always has been.

T’was another beautiful tuesday evening when the comrades would meet with the principal to fight with her on all things she was ready to fight about. We waved to the college buses as they took off from in front of the canteen, and then went down the road to ‘Sallap‘ for our evening dose of samosas ,tea and smoke. Principal madam was at her sarcastic best and the comrades were as always better than her in that. Outcome of the meeting was, i dont remember why – we all decided to screw the canteen guy and one bus conductor – it was surprisingly a consensus.

In another hour the comrades met in the ‘Unit Committee’ room and came to the conclusion that we could draw parallels to the impending strike in college with the Indonesian students uprising and the democratic aspirations after the royal massacre in Nepal. The Free-software geek had suggested that we ‘draw another parallel’ with a new internet software or web or something called wickipedia on the right to information. That idea was emphatically defeated as internet was still another crony-capitalist tool of exploitation. The two mufti policemen *plain clothesmen* from intelligence were there outside the college to check on us and they took our secretary to gather ‘secret’ inputs – the funniest thingy about plainclothesmen in Kerala is that they wear plain clothes along with ‘those polished brown shoes’. We all felt important and good after these meetings – you know that feeling of changing the world ; so there was another round of snacks in ‘Sallap’ and I set out for home.

My ‘honda’ ran out of gas at MarIvanios steps and I didnt have a single Re. left in the purse – chronicles of a third year yenjinearing under-graduate. The writing on the wall was clear – PUSH. I gasped my last breath home after two miles of hills and valleys – our goddamn city is on some seven sadistic hills – and everytime I pushed the scooter up a hill it morphed into a Royal enfield adding to my pains.

‘aaah ethiyo ponnu mon’ , mom said *get the hell upstairs – take bath or something*
‘you need to increase my allowance – I feel so poor’ I mumbled

Asianet news was on TV and I saw images of smoke coming out of that very familiar building. Few floors of WTC was on fire,some plane crash had happened -thats what Asianet said, and my brother was gaping at the newsreader chick with evil intentions completely unaware of the geo-political earthquake.

‘DAA, NDTV idu’ , I told my brother.

He fumbled with the remote – deliberately slowing down at the WWE channel and sadly arrived at NDTV. I got hold of the remote and kept switching between NDTV and CNN. The plane was a passenger aircraft and some casualities were expected.

‘mattavamaru thanne ?’, *Is it THEM?* – I ignored my hindu chauvunist cousin’s angry statement.

Within minutes Sky news feed came on NDTV and ‘oh my god,oh my god’ shouts filled the CNN newsroom – a second plane had crashed into the South tower. It was clear – it was THEM . But who ?

Confused comrades came on phone . Moosa said a plane had crashed into pentagon – after a few minutes it came on TV – now I knew who did it, it was Moosa. Fat-man said it was the Japanese Aum Shrinkyo taking revenge for Nagasaki. I was plain excited, a bit sad after watching guys jump out of the building, arguably fuddled but pretty sure that after the two towers collapsed – our world would be different atleast for another decade – not a big deal from a two fifty thousand years perspective of a humanist but a big deal for a guy who would be in the job market in less than an year.

The scale of it, the horror, the symbolism,the history made by the lucky and inflicted on the unlucky – the sheer genius of it – pure, crystalline evil . They say every American remembers what they were doing when John Kennedy was assasinated , every Indian of our generation will probably remember what they were doing when Rajiv Gandhi was killed – I believe everyone in the planet will remember what they were doing when terror came home to lower Manhattan.

This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes .
This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told .
The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks .
The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored
This is a poem for interrupting this program.

Because this is not a 9/11 poem.
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem

A Moment of silence – A poem (Read) \ (Listen -mp3)

We boarded the subway from JFK after an excruciating eight hours in the airport – thats another post . It was the summer of ’05 – happy and me . Forty five minutes later we came out of the underground platform of 34th street Penn station into the living daylights of Newyork city. They say if US of A is the Big Apple, Newyork is the Big Nipple – and thats true. The first few minutes in that part of Newyork was spend in silence – we were gaping at the mega-city around us like two people put there by chance – with no clue where Paul Barber was πŸ™‚

Swept off our feet by the city’s grandeur – Manhattan is about sky scrapers, about human endeavour – when you step out into that megaplex of bricks and mortar , when you realize that man created these wonders brick by brick,floor by floor : the sweat, blood, tears, sleepless nights, caffeine and cigarettes that went into each of these magnificant buildings : Manhattan is the climax of the human opera, our splendid city and a tribute to the best within us.

Howard Roark would draw magnificant structures with straight lines drawn right into the sky with no compromises . Everytime I saw the structure of WTC, I’ve felt the same – pure, Euclidean – there is no history like Victorian or Mughal or Renaissance, no religion like domes or crosses , no themes that jutt out of the architecture – just a building and thats it. Anyone who would destroy one of the best things the human being had ever created in the name of some God was playing on the other team – he is a traitor – and he never understood the hardship of Creation.

After few days in Newyork,it strikes you. The twin towers stood like two big brothers of the entire Manhattan skyline, it would never be the same . As a visitor you feel the loss , the Newyorker goes through it everyday,every single day. Maybe they’ll overcome the loss, maybe we’ll all overcome hate and in the dawn, armed with a burning patience – we will enter the splendid cities.

17 Responses to We will enter the Splendid cities

  1. Ash September 11, 2006 at 6:45 am #

    What a lovely tribute….perfect!

  2. Anonymous September 11, 2006 at 6:45 am #

    Never though 9/11 wud be so exciting!!!!!!!! (strongly doubt a binLaden under-the-table influence here)

    ~Nina

  3. aqua September 11, 2006 at 1:56 pm #

    Lal Salam Sakhavee! Heard alot of tales about camaraderie in University College in the Capital City.

  4. b v n September 12, 2006 at 5:09 am #

    Nina, Aaarantammakku bhranthu…:))..anganeyalla…i’m not crazy enough to condemn violence n all…but they shud have let the buildings stay but mullahs wud never know better

    Ash, Thank you πŸ™‚

    Aqua, Vannu kanenda sthalamanu πŸ™‚ njan poi kandittundu…there is another very famous engineering college too in trivandrum (athum kanuka varumbo)..lal salam.

  5. aqua September 12, 2006 at 2:40 pm #

    i have a lot of friends in Mar Ivanios College, SCT, Tvpm Engg College. Now a big number of Engg College has started… I got a seat for Bsc Maths in Mar Ivanios College(9 Yrs before!). But i discontinued it and tried another luck in Kerala Entrance. Finally got thru!! So i was there in Tandem for Entrancccce coaching for an year! Aftr my so called 4 yrs engg I have again come to the capital city in search for jobs or new courses. That time i got acquainted with a lot of friends. Kesavadasapuram, Palayam, Statue, East Fort were our hang outs! Started a private company with friends. it was a huge success!(read failure)
    Lal Salam

  6. Jiby September 12, 2006 at 3:35 pm #

    wonderful man…just wonderful…the whole flow of your post…you really managed to incorporate so much in it.

    like the unit committee meetings…and all those prameyams introduced and passed…the comrades really went about their motions in all seriousness and sincerity while we bourgeousie-comrades would be wondering how to make good our escape! like the odd topography of our city…like the night of 9/11… when my cable tv wouldnt work and the awe-inspiring first sight of manhattan!

    as always, another wonderful post from u…the WTC was manhattans crowning glory…they used to say that the view from the new jersey side was beautiful but when i went there last year thanks to the crowd of skyscrapers i cudnt even figure out where it might have stood!

    u know what on 9/11/2000 i wuz outside pentagon wondering what a waste of time visiting there was, coz only from the air the pentagonal shape came alive!

  7. alex September 12, 2006 at 4:35 pm #

    9/11 got all the media and public attraction and it sure was a horrendous incident.
    But isnt it true that incidents like these are happening around the so called ‘global village’?Some get hushed up and some doesnt attract public opinion.
    πŸ™

  8. b v n September 12, 2006 at 10:13 pm #

    Aqua, thats a lot of time in the city,I used to stay near Tandem. Our ‘histories’ look mostly the same…except for starting a new company(thats some guts sir:)) ) ‘uzhappu brotherhood’ is the city’s major attraction even now….great to know all this

    Jiby, Thanks a lot man! its difficult to find someone who’s gone thru all these adventures…’poland and chezch’ was fun in college …even now feel pretty pumped up about all those stuff. Manhattan was some experience…just like Mumbai.On the fifth anniversary,the propaganda machine is working overtime here….thats got some effect…i might invade some country πŸ™‚

    Alex, absolutely !! listen to the mp3 link in the post…that says everything. there is a world war happening and we dont know cause its not reported in the media.

  9. ~*. D E E P A .* ~ September 13, 2006 at 4:24 pm #

    Ofh !

    this really was some post …. encompassing two worlds

    Howard Roark was a genius .. the absolute best hero I ….
    my very favourite

  10. dwaipayan September 14, 2006 at 4:12 am #

    wonderful!!

  11. b v n September 14, 2006 at 4:32 am #

    Deepa, Thank you. Howard Roark was amazing at times but a bit off reality…there again i like Mohanlal in the movie Narasimham :)))

    Dwaipayan, Thanks man !

  12. Velu Nair September 14, 2006 at 6:12 pm #

    Talk of 9/11 brings to my mind something else. Just read a newsitem in ydays papers abt a Cooperative bank building at Nilambur being put up from the remnants of the 9/11 crashdown. It seems a consignment that reached Bombay to be dumped into the sea, was bought at a nominal price by the Bankwaalas, to be used for construction purposes.

    Not time for the WTC to bite the dust. Not yet.

  13. starry nights September 14, 2006 at 7:52 pm #

    beautiful tribute.A day that will never be forgotten.

  14. Enemy of the Republic September 14, 2006 at 8:48 pm #

    This is the best 9/11 post I’ve read; I purposely didn’t write one because I just can’t. This works because 9/11 is not one incident–it is intertwined with mass annihilation thorughout centuries, from prehistory on. In the States, we are naive and think ourselves invulnerable. Other cultures know better. But all cities are now vulnerable, and life is cheaper than ever. And that goes beyond the dictates of Al Quiada.

  15. Neers September 15, 2006 at 5:42 am #

    ah!! the exhilration and exhaustiveness of it all

  16. Kuan Gung September 17, 2006 at 6:23 pm #

    Very nice…

  17. b v n September 18, 2006 at 5:37 pm #

    Velu, this is why “kuttan Nair” will survive even on the moon :))

    starry, thank you πŸ™‚

    EOTR, thank you :)…i knew it was a very emotional subject even after five years…tried to bring in those different feelings across the world…for some its anger,some its pain,some excitement and for many another news item. i realized the emotions behind it when we were in NY for a few days.

    Neers, oh yeah its tiring πŸ™‚

    Kuan Gung, thank you πŸ™‚

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