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How 9/11 changed US

From metal detectors and frisking at the malls to over the top 24/7 news coverage, how one day 10 years ago affected our daily lives.

world Updated: Sep 11, 2011 19:09 IST

From metal detectors and frisking at the malls to over the top 24/7 news coverage, how one day 10 years ago affected our daily lives.

Airport security
Within hours of 9/11 strikes, security at all airports across the world was stepped up. The following morning thousands of Indians were forced to leave behind scissors, nail clippers and razors after having been subjected to rigorous pat-down searches. Over the years our footwear has been through X-ray machines and . most irritating ban of all: 100 millilitre limits on all liquids and gels.

Indians need a visa to go anywhere in the world.There are several stories of relatives being unable to visit relatives who work in America and visa-less mothers couldn't go visit their pregnant daughters.But the optimists continue to line up outside the embassies, consulates and high commissions, which had turned into fortresses overnight, with demands for extra paper work to prove that they were indeed harmless travellers or students.

Access to public spaces
Shopping malls in the Indian metros were convenient places to hang around. After 9/11 when malls opened for business, the visitors found a host of guards armed with beeping metal detectors. The entry-exit routine at a mall had been replaced by airport-style pat down searches and queues. The same drill is in place at multiplexes, amusement parks, metro stations and museums.

The security agencies in India started tapping phones, tailing suspects,set up special anti-terror cells, as much in response to the terror attacks at home as a fallout of the 9/11 attacks. Several state governments said they would install CCTV for better security but that plan hasn' t actually materialised anywhere in the country. Corporate India on the other hand has invested in better security and surveillance for its assets and human capital.

The literature in English, is replete with references to 9/11. Jeffrey Archer's False Impression, Monica Ali's Brick Lane, Everyman by Philip Roth, Eleven by David Llewellyn, Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children, Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Netherland by Joseph O'Neill, Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins, Windows on the World by Frédéric Beigbeder and Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster are some examples.

Post 9/11 several Sikhs were beaten up in the US as many Americans did not know the difference between a Sardar and a Muslim. In India, where all communites have co-existed for centuries, stereotyping came as a shock. Men with beards aroused suspicion in security guards, often being subjected to double checks. It was only after 26/11's clean shaven Ajmal Kasab who wore jeans and a t-shirt, that the stereotypical image of a terrorist was shattered.

Hysterical TV news
The 24X7 coverage with news readers and reporters shouting about "first" and "exclusive" footage became the rage post 9/11. After a stunned nation saw the 9/11 destruction unfold live for a week on CNN and BBC, the 24X7 breaking news hysteria got hold of Indian news channels, which of course also cater to the most silly news with as much enthusiasm.

First Published: Sep 10, 2011 23:10 IST