Eleven years after the September 11 attacks on the twin towers of World Trade Centre in New York, it still send shivers down the spine of Tajinder and Parminder Walia, who witnessed the catastrophe closely on that day.
Tajinder and Parminder, both brothers, were at their store, which was only 15 blocks away from Ground Zero.
"Two minutes changed it all. Two minutes decided that I will live to tell the story of 9/11 a decade later. I was shocked to hear the thunder and ran out of my store to see what happened. I thought that it might be an accident that a plane hit the tower, but the sight of another plane ramming into the second tower cleared all my doubts," Tajinder said.
Walias, who belong to Ludhiana and have come to the city for a visit, still get chocked while talking about the incident. They told the Hindustan Times that the day was very long as sounds of ambulances, police vehicles and fire brigade sirens seemed to be never ending.
"Dust and smoke had engulfed the sky and people were running helter-skelter. The police had cordoned off and sealed the city. The telephone lines were disconnected. I remained in store till evening and moved in and out of the store," said Tajinder.
"Debris of the World Trade Centre had fallen over the roof of my store. The area, Downtown, remained sealed for at least three days. The schools remained closed for at least 15 days after the terrorist attack, but the city remained depressed for a long after the catastrophe," he added.
Parminder Singh said the incident resulted in a new perspective on the roles of Sikhs as Americans. Turbaned Sikhs fell victim to mistaken identity and hate crimes.
The turbaned Sikhs were attacked at some areas soon after the incident, but there was no such problem with other Asians. As the time passed, the situation calmed down.
"It took around three months to clear the debris of twin towers. The government had started the construction of the towers in 2008," said Parminder.
Tajinder and Parminder had migrated to the US from Ludhiana 33 years ago and now they are well settled there. They visit Ludhiana often, as they feel emotionally connected to their motherland.