I can't remember now why we were going drinking. After all, it was Tuesday night, the middle of the week, and I don't recall there being anything to celebrate. Still, there we were, four of us crammed into a rickety cab, making our painfully slow progress from Nariman Point to Bandra.
Somewhere around Prabhadevi, I get a text from heh heh (who is still at work in BKC and is supposed to join us later), saying that a plane just flew into the World Trade Center. We figure it must have been a small plane, one of these silly four seaters. We wonder how dumb you have to be to hit the WTC. I mean, it can't be that hard to miss.
Then, around Mahim, another text. Another plane just hit the WTC. Oh, come on, what are the odds? Clearly heh heh is screwing with us. Some sort of stupid joke. And to think we actually took him seriously the first time.
Wait, a third message. The Pentagon this time. Ya, right. Like all of a sudden planes in the US have started to plough into buildings. Just like that. See, that's the trouble with heh heh. He doesn't know when to stop.
Five minutes later we walk into the restaurant and there it is, on the TV screen, that indelible image of the two towers billowing smoke. Wait, you mean heh heh wasn't joking? What the fuck? As we settle into our chairs the news shows a replay of the second plane hitting. Holy crap! That was a full-sized Boeing. Look at the explosion. It's amazing the towers are still standing. What are they saying - can anyone make out? Wish the folks at that table would shut up. Is this for real?
For the next two hours, working our way through copious quantities of beer and biryani, we watch the news. We see the towers come down. We see the footage from the Pentagon.
Someone on another table gets up and tries to change the channel. Apparently his favorite TV show is on. The manager politely tells him to get lost.
Does anyone we know work in the WTC? What firms have offices there? We should call someone and check. Hello? Hey, it's me. Have you seen this? Dude, it's fucking unbelievable. Listen, do you know what firms are in the WTC? Any I-banks? Check online, na, if you're near a computer. What's that? Merril? And MSDW? Are you sure? Any others? Okay, let me know if you hear anything. Bye. Merril and MSDW, apparently. Do we know anyone there? Who did they hire this year? Last year? Didn't P---- join them...but wait, he's in London, isn't he? The folks in New York would know. Someone try calling them. No answer. The lines must be down. Shit.
So how long do you think before the US starts bombing the crap out of the Middle East? A week? Two? Man, this is going to make getting a tourist visa so much harder.