Lipi survives Lucent's round of layoffs in July, but not those in August. She is among the last ten people of her group asked to leave. The first phone call she makes is to Ashwin, her old boss at AT&T, who not only pushes his bosses to rehire her but schedules her start date for late September so she can finally spend time with her parents, who are still in the States.
That's what she's doing on September 11. They are sitting on the couch watching television when suddenly there is just one image on all the networks: towers burning, then falling. People running, people crying. Sanku calls from work;he's on his way home and will pick up Chiku from day care. The family remains glued to the television for the rest of the day, not even bothering to monitor it as they usually do for Chiku's young eyes.
When he sits down some days later to write how he feels, Lipi's father, Girish Chandra Phukan, thinks of the view from the World Trade Center's observation deck not so long ago. It had been