Night and day

I once witnessed a total eclipse of the sun. I can’t recall the year — just that I was young. And that I was home in India.

It was supposed to happen at midday. All of Kolkata was abuzz. We went and bought our eclipse-watching goggles and waited with the kind of anticipation that could rival a bride’s as she walks down the aisle.

But in India, solar eclipses are the stuff of superstition. Pregnant women stay indoors for fear of giving birth to a tainted baby. Temples close. Somehow, the sun’s light disappearing is cause for much concern.

And eerie it was. When there should have been skin-burning rays, darkness fell upon the congested city of millions. When there should have been bustling markets and overflowing buses, there was emptiness. Day became night. We ran to the rooftop of my grandfather’s house to catch a glimpse of the sun’s corona.

Miraculous, it was. The sun appeared like a crescent moon, a silvery sliver high in the sky.

I helped put together CNN’s story on the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century, first seen on Wednesday in eastern India. I wondered if my friends and family were out on rooftops, just like I had been, marveling at the celestial spectacle.

Check it out: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/07/22/solar.eclipse/index.html

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4 Replies to “Night and day”

  1. I've been in that position before, where I tried to watch the people around me watching the eclipse. But it's hard! You keep wanting to turn back to the eclipse itself. Something about it really pulls at you. At least me….Beautiful story, Moni. More like a poem, really. Now let me check out this fancy new TV stuff you're doing….

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  2. Two things I wanted to see in the report (such a critic):Video of the lady getting stampeded during viewing in India? Ouch. I also thought maybe the commentator was being a little too "judgy" about India's traditions regarding the eclipse, labeling them superstition, like she was saying it's all silly. But I'm a magical thinker that way.And three, where's my beautiful Basu on cam? You ain't no middle-ager, babee, you a major hottie. CNN needs to get wise and get the Basu out front.

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  3. i know i've seen partial eclipses – maybe even one in Tallahassee. i knew a guy once who had a streak of white hair mixed in with his dark locks. he said it came from his mother watching an eclipse while she was pregnant with him. hm?

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