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Attack on America :: Ahmedabad lad had a 16-km walk home Saturday, September 15, 2001
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Twenty-four-year-old Tushar Daru stood some 300 feet away from the 110-storeyed structure, dumbstruck as he witnessed the New York skyline change forever.
Dust cloud bellowed out as the twin towers of World Trade Centre came crashing down, turning day into night.
An Ahmedabad boy, Tushar works for software giant Infosys and is now deputed to the Goldman Sachs office. Tushar has been in New York since February. He recounted his experience in a chat with TNN over telephone.
Visibility dipped to zero and Tushar lost track of his friend as he rushed into the nearest departmental store that provided a surprisingly warm welcome. Scores of people were already huddled inside the shop while the owner tried his best to make them feel at home.
"Wash your face and hands, choose something to drink ... You can stay here as long as you wish," the storekeeper repeated over and over again as more people came in covered in soot and thick layers of dust.
Sirens wailed on as Tushar after dusting and washing himself the best he could had some time to himself. Immediately, he thought about his cosy, six-roomed apartment in New Jersey.
The day had begun with bright sunshine and a filling breakfast. Soon he was off on the metro; 15 minutes later he alighted a little way from his office in 32 Old Ship building, Near Staten Island Ferry. At 8.20 am he crossed the towering World Trade Centre and headed for the elevator that would take him up to his office on the 32nd floor.
Just as he settled down to another day's work, Tushar looked outside his huge office window and was taken aback to see the first aircraft crash into one of the WTC towers. He thought this was just a terrible accident. Then, his colleagues and he watched in horror as another aircraft crashed into the second WTC tower, instantly enveloping it in a huge ball of fire.
Moments after the second strike, the youngster sent an e-mail to his father in Ahmedabad which read: "Two planes strike WTC. I am safe."
The 32 Old Skip building was soon evacuated as were other skyscrapers in the neighbourhood. And before long, Tushar was standing beside his colleague near another office building and waiting at a spot about 300 metres from the WTC for another friend (the three of them share the apartment at New Jersey).
Before they could get any further, the first tower gave way. A loud crash later, the entire area sunk into darkness.
Tushar got a rude awakening when wails of siren, together with human grief and stench of burning flesh, brought him back to what was his temporary haven.
Three hours had gone by, the second WTC tower too collapsed. Yet, the people dared not venture out; the dust cloud was yet to settle down and tension had only increased during the time as news of attack on the Pentagon filtered in.
Gathering courage, Tushar and a small band came out of hiding as visibility improved somewhat. But, outside they found a new predicament -- no transport. And, so Tushar walked for three hours, groping his way through 16 km.
Finally, he reached the Hudson riverbank. He took a ferry across to New Jersey and reached home only at 6 pm. As Tushar began calling up his parents and friends in Ahmedabad to reassure them that he was safe, his other two room mates walked in, in an equally dishevelled state, recounting hours-long horrors on streets of New York that had once represented the spirit of liberty and enterprise.
News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]